After voting to spend city funds to design a home around a controversial 70-foot heritage redwood tree, the Menlo Park City Council will decide the tree's fate at its Tuesday, Jan. 25, meeting.
Kim LeMieux, who owns the property that the tree sits on at 240 University Drive, asked the city last July for permission to cut down the tree to build a new two-story house. The Planning Commission agreed, but the Environmental Quality Commission did not.
Since 2008, the city has approved 652 tree removals, and denied only 21, according to Rebecca Fotu, environmental programs manager.
When Ms. LeMieux appealed to the council in October, it voted 3 to 2, with John Boyle and Rich Cline dissenting, to pay an architect to attempt to plan a house around the tree instead of immediately allowing her to cut it down.
The new design, which cost the city $7,500 according to the staff report, suggests eliminating a basement and requires several zoning variances. Ms. LeMieux said the plan isn't economically feasible.
The tree served as the backdrop to another controversy as well regarding remarks Councilman Andy Cohen made to Ms. LeMieux about her attractiveness prior to the vote.
The council meeting begins at 7 p.m. on Tuesday in council chambers at the Menlo Park Civic Center at 701 Laurel St.