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Please uphold redwood tree appeal; engage unbiased expertise in meaningful design process

From: domainremoved <>
Date: Tue, 7 May 2019 12:15:44 -0700

Dear City Council –

I’m writing to you in support of the effort to save the redwood trees at 1000 El Camino Real. I attended the last public meeting about this topic with the Environmental Quality Commission and was surprised and unsettled to learn that the City has yet to meaningfully engage its staff and independent structural engineering and design professionals in this process (see quote from April 10, 2019 appeal letter to City Council, copied below).

“One flaw in this process to date has been that all alternatives addressed in the Staff Report 19-002-EQC, except one (#6) were ideas brought up by concerned residents from the general public, not the Applicant or the City's staff; #6 was proposed by the City's structural engineering consultant and not agreed to by the City's arboreal consultant. This process goes against both the letter and the spirit of the Heritage Tree Ordinance. The correct path to creating feasible and reasonable alternatives would be for the City and/or Applicant to engage innovative thinkers in the structural engineering and design professions here in Silicon Valley. Give these professionals the task of coming up with an alternative that will save the building and the trees. We request Menlo Park’s governing body to establish a partnership with the Applicant and do just that.”

It is inappropriate to rely fundamentally on the professionals hired by the developers to determine whether or not there are sound ways to repair the building and preserve the trees simultaneously. Otherwise, even with the best of intentions, we leave our city vulnerable to conclusions based on potentially biased and incomplete information. As with any public process that impacts our society, we must always seek independent experts and lean most heavily on their input, not input put forth by those financially impacted by the outcome. Given that there is documentation that there is no imminent safety risk to the building occupants, I plead with you to create an independent team that engages the innovative design and structural engineering resources of Silicon Valley. This is simply the right thing to do in this circumstance, given the unique heritage and climate protection values provided by those trees.

Many of those who signed the Change.org message in support of the trees are parents with young children, for whom evening council meetings are difficult to attend due to childcare challenges. Please do not forget the many who signed this Change.org and are hoping for the city to do the right thing.

Thank you.

In gratitude,

Angela Evans

Menlo Park resident
Received on Tue May 07 2019 - 12:10:39 PDT

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