In October, the town's Planning Commission approved a permit to remove 18 heritage trees, defined in Atherton as 48 inches or more in circumference at 4 feet above the ground. But City Council members, urged on by members of the public, asked the project's architects to try to figure out how to save even more trees.
Five of the trees must go because arborists agree they are unhealthy, and the town quickly figured out how to work around three other trees. On Dec. 20, City Manager George Rodericks said five others could be saved by making fairly minor changes during construction if given extra protection while work is going on.
Four of the five remaining trees "staff believes cannot be saved without possible redesign and project delay," Mr. Rodericks said. Another tree, which is located between a planned wide ramp leading to the new library entrance and a deck, had been scheduled to be relocated elsewhere on the property. Council members wanted more information about the feasibility and cost of doing that and also asked to take another look at leaving the tree in place and building around it.
"I think we need an arborist's input on which of those options are the best," Councilman Rick DeGolia said.
The council wasn't quite ready to concede the remaining four trees, either. The five council members reached consensus on giving up on only one of the trees, and asked to have project architect WRNS Studio return with a report about how much it would cost, and how much it might delay the project, to save three others.
Mr. DeGolia emphasized that the town is following "the process any homeowner has to go through" to get permission to take out the large old trees. "There are absolutely no rules that have been broken," he said.
"We're not cutting any corners on this parcel," Mr. DeGolia said. In fact, he said, "we're not just trying to adhere to the letter of the requirements, we're going beyond it."
This story contains 388 words.
Stories older than 90 days are available only to subscribing members. Please help sustain quality local journalism by becoming a subscribing member today.
If you are already a subscriber, please log in so you can continue to enjoy unlimited access to stories and archives. Subscriptions start at $5 per month and may be cancelled at any time.