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July 06, 2005

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Publication Date: Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Eucalyptus trees fall, Brown Adobe stays put at Woodside's former Schroll estate Eucalyptus trees fall, Brown Adobe stays put at Woodside's former Schroll estate (July 06, 2005)

By Andrea Gemmet

Almanac Staff Writer

Anyone passing by 3000 Portola Road near Highway 84 in recent days has probably noticed that there's a whole lot of tree-chopping going on.

The Woodside Town Council fielded a complaint about all of the eucalyptus trees being felled from a concerned resident at its June 28 meeting. In a town that's been rife with battles over illegal construction projects, the resident was surprised to learn that not only is the project entirely permissible, it's officially encouraged.

Following the six-alarm wildfire that threatened houses and scorched more than 10 acres in central Woodside in 2002, the Town Council instituted a policy to encourage homeowners to cut down eucalyptus trees and other non-native species that are particularly flammable. The wildfire was sparked by a brittle eucalyptus branch that fell onto power lines.

Stacy Siebel, who owns the former Schroll estate property with her husband, Siebel systems founder Tom Siebel, said they are cutting down the eucalyptus trees on the property and will replace them with native trees such as redwoods and oaks. A number of trees are rotted on the inside and dangerous, she said.

Other construction on the property includes a new main house and several outbuildings, said Woodside Planning Director Hope Sullivan.

One project that is not going forward, however, is the relocation of the Charles Brown Adobe, the oldest structure in San Mateo County. In February, Ms. Siebel said she planned to move the much-altered adobe from the midst of the property to a location visible from Portola Road and restore it to its original dimensions.

The process of getting an environmental review for the project was taking too long, Ms. Siebel said, and she was disheartened by negative remarks about her intentions.

"My intention now is to restore it where it sits," she said.

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