One of the items at the Tuesday, Dec. 11, City Council meeting was about a Heritage Tree that was apparently quite tall and had been growing for decades. In its growth, it embraced (literally) a power pole, and attempts to keep it reasonable failed – in fact part of one side of the tree leaned precariously to one side and one of its lines was braced by a neighbor to keep it from being ensnarled with any tall vehicle that might pass under it. It was deemed dangerous from many angles. Consensus was to remove it – Edison would remove the power pole and replace it. Neighbors in the area agreed with its removal, including one who lived a bit further away and although they loved the tree, it did “block their view.” Everyone chuckled over this remark. Although technically not on the homeowner’s property, the previous owners did keep the tree trimmed. A neighbor commented that children often played nearby. Who oversees replacing the tree?
Edison was involved in this issue, obviously because the power pole was being hugged by the tree and the only way to mitigate this situation was removing both. But at whose cost? Whose approval? What time frame, especially with the advent of the rainy season and potential for high winds.
My suggestion is that each tree that is on the Heritage Tree list be inspected not only for its health, but for the implications it has for future growth that might create a dangerous situation, be it with power poles (another reason to go underground) or falling over/endangering property/people with its age and location. I suggest this for several reasons – obviously to protect the lives and property of those who live around these trees. Also, it should be decided who has responsibility for its upkeep and determination of cutting/removing. Do we need to wait until tragedy strikes, or can we be more proactive as concerned citizens – rather than reactive – and have policies/procedures in place? I would recommend that if such a “committee” be formed, that it is balanced and not wanting to spend thousands of dollars debating/getting experts and alienating our community further. Let’s be reasonable. I suggest that many trees that are very questionable about being really saved for another 20 years, instead we spend the money in purchasing a new tree that fits the community, meets safety requirement as it ages, and is not expensive to maintain. I hate to think how much the city has spent in “trimming/cleaning” up after some species of trees that have been put on an exalted altar.
Ganka Brown, Laguna Beach