The fate of 99 of Menlo Park's heritage trees could be decided at the city's Environmental Quality Commission meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 31.
The commission will review proposals to cut down 59 heritage trees at the Greenheart site at 1300 El Camino Real, 39 trees at Sharon Green Apartments, and one tree on San Mateo Drive.
Heritage trees are generally those with a trunk diameter of 15 inches or more; for native California oaks, the standard is 10 inches or more.
The commission will meet at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall at 701 Laurel St., and has allocated an hour to each of the three proposals in this order: San Mateo Drive, Sharon Green Apartments and the Greenheart site.
Greenheart Land Co. plans to build 420,000 square feet of office, housing and retail at 1300 El Camino Real and has proposed to cut down all trees on its 6.4-acre site.
The developer has proposed to replace the heritage trees with 120 new trees, according to a staff report.
Sharon Park Drive
The commission will review landscape plans at the Sharon Green Apartments in Menlo Park that would cut down 39 heritage trees, according to a staff report.
The complex contains 296 apartments on about 15 acres at 350 Sharon Drive. In December 2015, the complex was sold by Essex Property Trust to Maximus Real Estate and an affiliate of Deutsche Asset and Wealth Management for $245 million, or the equivalent of $828,000 per unit, which could be a record on the Peninsula.
Plans by the owners to renovate the buildings and extensively rework landscaping on the site have been submitted to the city of Menlo Park, and will go before the Planning Commission.
Drawings show the exteriors of the buildings will be redone. Changes involving landscaping include the addition of a sports court, a clubhouse pool area, a backyard garden, an open space grassy area, and a "children's adventure park."
Andrew Kennard, who lives in the complex and is a biophysics researcher at Stanford, has asked the owners to reconsider the landscaping plans. He said that the trees in the apartment complex helped him connect to his neighbors recently.
"At a recent resident barbecue, I got to know a family with two bright children by marveling with them at a leaf from one of these trees under my field microscope. It was wonderful to be able to excite the children with the love of nature in their own backyard, and the tree was central to our coming together as neighbors."
San Mateo Drive
A coast redwood heritage tree, situated close to a fence at 1080 San Mateo Drive, has been recommended for removal by a forester and an engineer, and a permit to do so was approved by the city arborist in April.
The tree allegedly was causing damage to a garage slab and encroaching on a neighbor's fence and pool, according to a staff report.
The decision to grant the permit was appealed in June by Horace and Betsy Nash and also signed by Sally Cole, all of whom are residents of the 1200 block of Santa Cruz Avenue. They sought to have the permit to cut the tree down revoked.