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Spare the Seven Redwood Trees

From: domainremoved <Mary>
Date: Mon, 13 May 2019 07:40:48 -0700

Dear Honorable City Council Members,

I have been going back and forth in my mind and heart about the redwood trees at 1000 El Camino even though my original response was complete disbelief that the City would allow seven beautiful, healthy, heart-of-the-city trees be taken down. I thought one of the Environmental Quality Commissioners summarized things well when she said something along the lines that we should be able to do better than only having the choice of trees or parking garage.

The developer's desire and urgency to repair the underground parking is understandable but is there really no viable alternative to the all-or-nothing choice we seem to have? Would taking a bit more time to investigate a compromise make a difference? Is the developer willing to mitigate his other plans for the property in order to save some of the trees? One of the things that didn’t come up in the EQC discussions was all the other tree removals and development that the applicant is planning for this property. It makes me wonder how much of that is influencing the developer’s focus on removing all the trees.

It would truly be an exceptional decision for you to vote in favor of keeping these trees rather than making the parking garage repair the priority. I think there have been some valid arguments on both sides. From what I understand about the alternatives so far, the logical and reasonable and maybe even legal choice is to grant the developer's request but there is something unquantifiable that makes that decision feel so wrong.

I think part of it is that these trees are part of a significant grove of noble spires that rise tall and green over all the hustle, bustle, concrete and carbon dioxide below. This grove is a stellar example of what continues to make Menlo Park livable despite the persistent push of development. The trees are visible even before you enter Menlo Park and give one hope that Menlo Park is a place where we figure out how to coexist with everything that lives here, flora and fauna included.

If you do grant the applicant’s request, I think it will be important to the community to understand your decision process. It will be a very tough pill to swallow and understanding what you considered on both sides of the issue may help. I know it is not easy no matter what you decide.

You are also in a position to impose a few more mitigations if the trees are removed. At the very least, all the wood should be milled and used in some meaningful way. Sending these redwood trees into a chipper would be an egregious act.

The trees should not be taken down during nesting season which extends well into the summer. To really do right by all the living creatures that depend on these trees, a survey should be done by a professional before they are toppled to make sure that nests, which can be at any time of year, be moved or vulnerable wildlife transferred to where it can continue to thrive. I also hope that the required replacement trees are carefully chosen so that they replace at least some of the habitat, air quality and screening value that will be gone in an instant when/if these trees are removed.

Thank you for listening and doing everything you can to spare these trees, or at least some of them.

Mary Kenney
Morey Drive
Menlo Park
Received on Mon May 13 2019 - 07:35:34 PDT

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