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Heritage trees removal at 350 Sharon Park Drive

From: domainremoved <Kent>
Date: Sat, 24 Sep 2016 14:22:22 -0700

Dear City Councilors:

We are disappointed to hear that the planning commission approved Maximus
Real Estate Partners' (MREP) request to remove 39 heritage trees from their
apartment development at 350 Sharon Park Drive, and we urge you to reverse
or modify this decision such that fewer or no heritage trees and fewer
near-heritage trees are removed. We are surprised that MREP says that the
trees are being removed due to the current condition/health of the trees or
due to their hazardous location or condition. We live across Sharon Road
from the site and frequently walk the perimeter of the site on Sharon Road,
Sharon Park Drive, Monte Rosa Drive, and Eastridge Avenue, and have
reviewed MREP's application and tree removal maps at city hall. To our
non-expert eyes, most of the trees seem to be healthy and attractive.

The trees proposed for removal are a very important screen in front of the
bulky apartment buildings, and are a major natural attraction for the
neighborhood. Any replacement trees would take decades to achieve the
screening and aesthetic condition of the existing trees.

Several of the city's heritage tree ordinance considerations for decision
affect this proposal:

     1. Certainly, diseased or hazardous trees should be removed, but few
of the proposed trees seem to be in that condition to our eyes. We would
defer to the opinion of a professional arborist to make that assessment.

     2. Proposed additional structures and improvements to existing
structures could be made without removing most of the proposed trees, since
they are mostly some distance from the current and proposed buildings.

     3. Topography and erosion considerations don't seem to be important
since the remainder of the site is covered in lawn, hardscape, and
buildings.

     4. The trees are valuable in their current state for their size,
attractiveness, and screening capability, and because of the time it would
take to grow any replacement trees to the size of the current trees.

     5. The trees provide significant ecological value for their
evapotranspiration cooling, carbon storage, oxygen production, and bird
nesting sites.

     6. The major benefit of the trees is the screening they provide for
the large, rectilinear apartment buildings in the development. They are
all large, mature, decades-old, attractive, apparently healthy, native
species, and it would be a major detraction from the suburban garden-like
nature of the neighborhood to have them replaced with young specimens.

     7. Thirty-nine seems an unnecessarily large number of trees to remove
for new structures and modifications to existing structures. The trees are
widely spaced, and away from the buildings, and removal of any one large
tree would create a gap in the screening they provide and reduce the
attractiveness of development's landscaping.

     8. Perhaps a reasonable alternative would be to remove only those
trees hazardously close to the structures to be enlarged, or to the
footprint of additional buildings, rather than all of the proposed trees.
The council could also request modifications to the proposed new buildings
such that fewer heritage and near-heritage trees need be removed.

Thank you for considering our views. We hope that the council will
maintain the attractiveness and sylvan nature of the Sharon Heights
neighborhood in a review of the planning commission's decision.

Sincerely,

Judy and Kent Frewing

-- 
Kent Frewing
2357 Sharon Oaks Drive
Menlo Park, CA 94025-6816
Phone:  650-600-8069
Cell:  818-207-4479
Email:  kfrewing_at_(domainremoved)
Received on Sat Sep 24 2016 - 14:28:01 PDT

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