“I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree.” I remember memorizing and reciting those lines in seventh-grade English class.
Fast forward to present day Laguna where trees are the number one issue in the editorial pages. Only yesterday two local landscape architects chose trees as the subject of their columns and were waxing poetic about them. Trees are truly lovely, and I enjoy their beauty daily, but I think there are often times when certain trees are not compatible with residential neighborhoods.
For example, my husband and I walked up tree lined Eagle Rock Way two days ago and were surprised to see a code enforcement officer writing up three citations to our friend, Katie Slattery. She was being cited due to a call from someone in the neighborhood for pruning her Torrey pines. Katie went to heroic/very expensive measures to protect these trees while building her home. But after living in close proximity with the behemoth trees for many years, the beauty and sentimentality of the trees have been replaced with the reality of a maintenance nightmare. Katie now lives with an abundance of pine sap constantly dripping on her home, driveway, entryway, roof and on friends’ and family’s cars and shoes.
I am sure that when her father, Fred Lang, planted the trees he did not envision a home being built next to them. Common sense now tells us they are certainly not residential compatible. Yet, someone in the neighborhood feels that it is okay for Katie to be inconvenienced and spend more money to maintain what has become a continual drain on her sanity and pocketbook.
There are no lack of trees in South Laguna, in fact there is another Torrey pine on Second Avenue, just a mere short block away. Why would a neighbor feel the city needs to decide on whether Katie can trim her trees, or even remove them? Torrey pines are lovely, but in this situation, they are the wrong tree, in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I would suggest to anyone who feels that Katie’s trees are irreplaceable and should be maintained, that they plant this same species on their property, next to their home. Then, they could walk a mile in her sap-filled shoes.
Alas, there is no poetry in Katie’s life right now due to these not so lovely trees.
Lindsay Tognetti, Laguna Beach