News

Menlo Park: Hermosa Way heritage trees escape the ax

 

Two towering redwood trees at 1020 Hermosa Way escaped the ax after the Menlo Park Environmental Quality Commission voted 6-0 to deny the homeowner's removal permits after a next-door neighbor appealed.

The trees, standing approximately 90 feet tall, were evaluated by both Michael Young, an arborist with Urban Tree Management, as well as Christian Bonner, the city's arborist, at the homeowner's request. Both arborists decided that slapdash pruning years ago had left tree limbs in danger of breaking off and falling on vehicles, people and adjacent properties, according to the city staff's report.

However, a neighbor, Mary Ann Robbiano, challenged the conclusion that removal was the only solution.

"Menlo Park is advertised as Tree City USA," Ms. Robbiano wrote in her appeal. "The trees were one of the reasons that my husband and I bought our property at that location on Hermosa Way. We loved all the trees that were on our lot and the lots around the area."

The commission heard her appeal on Wednesday, April 22 -- Earth Day -- and concurred that other solutions were viable, according to Environmental Programs Manager Heather Abrams.

Commissioner Allan Bedwell was unable to attend the meeting.

Comments

4 people like this
Posted by Save the Trees
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 28, 2015 at 12:40 pm

The Environmental Quality Commission made the correct decision -- removing the redwood tree was not the only option. Menlo Park should protect heritage trees!


4 people like this
Posted by SteveC
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 28, 2015 at 12:55 pm

SteveC is a registered user.

So what are the other options?


2 people like this
Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 28, 2015 at 1:54 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

FYI,

These trees require approximately 180 gallons of water per day during the summer. they are non-native to the inland empire (they survive in the Fog due to moisture received)

This is a a bad decision during a drought.


4 people like this
Posted by droughts come and go
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 28, 2015 at 2:50 pm

Redwoods survive decades and centuries of changing weather conditions.

I do not condone planting new redwoods. These do not belong in a suburban setting, but these have been here longer than most of us.


2 people like this
Posted by inland empire?
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 28, 2015 at 3:05 pm

Yes, dang good thing we've been around for the last few thousand years to give each and every redwood its approximately 180 gallons of water during the summer.

Per day.

Golly, no wonder it took civilization so long to develop in California, what with all that time needed for watering of each redwood tree.

Use the drought as an excuse to cut trees. What next?

Please do let us know when we have to change our rooting interest to the SoCal teams Web Link


2 people like this
Posted by @inland empire?
a resident of another community
on Apr 28, 2015 at 3:19 pm

Having spent time in what was labelled the "Inland Empire," I never realized that the particular region of California had shifted its borders northwards.

Then again, some parts around here do resemble Riverside...


Like this comment
Posted by whatever
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 28, 2015 at 3:52 pm

So Roy, can you provide addresses where folks are giving their redwoods 180 gals a day?


1 person likes this
Posted by Steve
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 28, 2015 at 4:34 pm

How will the prolonged drought effect those enormous trees? Will they become more likely to fall? Trees do eventually die. If they do fall, will the property owner, who has been forced to keep them, be liable for damage or injury? Perhaps the Menlo Park Environmental Quality Commission should be held liable. (Of course, it won't be.)


2 people like this
Posted by inland empire?
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 28, 2015 at 4:45 pm

"Trees do eventually die."

Wow. That's going out on a... errr... ummm...


Like this comment
Posted by inland empire?
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 28, 2015 at 4:47 pm

"Trees do eventually die."

After all, we ALL know whose fault this is.

(his middle name is Hussein)


;-)


2 people like this
Posted by Steve
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 28, 2015 at 5:02 pm

inland empire: I wonder what the climate was a few thousand years ago? I am willing to bet that in the past there was more ground water and available run-off water feeding streams and not reservoirs. The reality is that with a drought there is consequently much less water for those trees that guzzle up 180 gallons of water a day. Nature will take its course and if or when those trees die, who will be responsible?


Like this comment
Posted by Menlo 25
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Apr 28, 2015 at 5:09 pm

Redwoods belong in the mountain fog zones of the SF Peninsula, where they survive all sorts of weather cycles. Planting them in in Menlo Park.was and remains a mistake.


Like this comment
Posted by Marty
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 28, 2015 at 5:11 pm

Why are some comments here so snide and unnecessary? Yes, I
mean you, inland empire. When trees die, they tend to fall down even if no one is there to hear them fall. (smirk) Just hope one doesn't fall on your head.


Like this comment
Posted by inland empire?
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 28, 2015 at 6:10 pm

"The reality is that with a drought there is consequently much less water for those trees that guzzle up 180 gallons of water a day."

Who is watering a redwood with 180 gallons a day? C'mon folks.

"I wonder what the climate was a few thousand years ago?" Look it up.

Recently (hundreds of years, not thousands; ie. the lifetime of redwoods we see today) there have been many droughts. But going back further:

"California's current drought is being billed as the driest period in the state's recorded rainfall history. But scientists who study the West's long-term climate patterns say the state has been parched for much longer stretches before that 163-year historical period began."

- and -

"Through studies of tree rings, sediment and other natural evidence, researchers have documented multiple droughts in California that lasted 10 or 20 years in a row during the past 1,000 years"

Don't like snark? Then don't refer to The Peninsula as the Inland Empire.

re: trees dying - a drought changes none of the liability or laws. I will defer to the various posters who fancy themselves as experts on all things legal (and we know who they are...)


;-)






Like this comment
Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 28, 2015 at 7:56 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

@whatever

Give me a call on my mobile 650.799.1151 to discuss.

Not willing to put it on the blog.

Roy


Like this comment
Posted by Tree city
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 28, 2015 at 10:19 pm

Very happy that 90 foot redwood trees are spared the axe.


Like this comment
Posted by I like trees, but . . .
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Apr 29, 2015 at 12:09 pm

Nice to hear about concerns for the trees. But, from the article there doesn't seem to be any disagreement that these trees are a hazard? I'm also curious as to the alternatives discussed. Also whether those arguing against removal would be willing to post a bond or help pay the property owner's insurance to compensate people who might be injured by falling limbs in the future.


Like this comment
Posted by We have to stop planting trees
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 4, 2015 at 8:25 pm

If you ever look at pictures of Menlo Park from circa 1900, you will be shocked at how barren the landscape was. Then the crowds started moving into the city and planting trees. These trees only survive because of the activities of the residents-- they would not be here otherwise. No, no one directly waters these trees but they live because of the run off from watering lawns and sucking moisture out of the air. They DO take 180 gallons per day, one way or another, or they will die.

We are in awful bind because we have these trees, but now these trees are a water liability. Their existence contributes to the drought because they take moisture out of the air. We can't afford their upkeep under the current water restrictions.

I say that the city should stop planting new trees immediately. As for trees that are precarious, there is no point in continued heroic efforts to keep them around. They are going to die and we are just compounding the problem by maintaining them.


1 person likes this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 4, 2015 at 9:28 pm

I remember cutting down two perfectly healthy redwood trees because they were very close to the size that would make them protected. It took ten years to grow and I would have preferred to keep them but they would not have worked in that space in another 15 or 20 years and I would not have been able to cut them.

FYI to others if you have trees that are of the protected status you better measure now before your have to keep them permanently.


1 person likes this
Posted by Jenson
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Aug 5, 2015 at 8:41 pm

In general--- The heritage tree ordinance does not allow for owners to prevent costly damage to their property. Owners should be allowed to remove trees because of potential damage to their property (roots can cause damage to house foundations, driveways or fall in a storm) This is a poor ordinance and puts the owner at risk for expenses down the line even though they present valid arguments as to why a tree should be removed. The commission or whoever makes this decision needs to understand the owners point of view.---- "It's a big tree we need to keep it" is the prevailing thought process for Menlo Park and its heritage tree law. It's not fair and lacks common sense in many instances. Maybe the commission should be held liable if they refuse to let someone cut down a big redwood tree or oak on someone's property and it falls this winter in a storm and damages a house after the owner asked to have it removed. Menlo Park needs to correct this now.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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