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Heritage Tree Ordinance Update

From: domainremoved <Catherine>
Date: Tue, 29 Oct 2019 08:28:54 -0700

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Dear Mayor Mueller, Mayor Pro Tem Taylor, Councilmembers Carlton, Combs, and Nash,

It was an honor and a privilege to serve on the Heritage Tree Task Force. The work of the Task Force resulted in improvements to some aspects of the ordinance, but more could have been done to make the ordinance stronger. In particular:

1. Trees protected under the ordinance
Please note that replacement trees (trees planted to replace removed heritage trees) are not protected under the ordinance. This is a weakness. It is good to add verification of the replacement planting, but how will the long term establishment and survival of the replacement trees be ensured between the 2nd inspection (if it occurs) and the time when the new tree reaches the heritage status size?

2. Conflicts between existing heritage trees and installation of solar collectors
A simple majority of the taskforce voted to remove the criterion related to solar collectors from the administrative guidelines. However a super majority would have been needed for that motion to pass. I strongly believe installation of solar panels should not be a criterion for removal of a heritage tree. The process described at the bottom of page 3 of the administrative guidelines (attach. D) pretty much ensures that a valuable tree (very large native oak, for instance) could be removed to install solar panels. The multiple ecological, environmental, and public health co-benefits of a heritage tree are far more important than what solar panels offer. Short-sighted with significant unintended consequences.

3. Changes to administrative guidelines
Obviously, as demonstrated above in the case of solar collector conflicts, the administrative guidelines are crucial to what actually happens in the field. The process for the amendment of the administrative guidelines is unclear. Which entity will solicit, collect, review, and take public comments into account? At a minimum, the EQC should be in the loop.

In addition, I strongly urge the Council to direct the staff to engage the process of creating an urban forest master plan and address the issues identified by the EQC, namely, measuring the city's tree canopy cover, addressing community values around redwoods, addressing canopy inequities across the community, and understanding the impact of other policies on the urban forest.

Thank you,

Catherine Martineau
Executive Director
650-964-6110 ext. 2

Out of office heads-up:
November 18 to 22


 [Facebook] <http://www.facebook.com/pages/Palo-Alto-CA/Canopy/55432333878> [Twitter] <https://twitter.com/CanopyTrees> [Flickr] <http://www.flickr.com/photos/canopy/sets> [Great Nonprofits] <http://greatnonprofits.org/reviews/profile2/canopy> [Guidestar] <http://www2.guidestar.org/organizations/01-0565752/canopy-trees-palo-alto.aspx> [Youtube] <http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpreByf5mJ18Qh1VOc-hiiw>
Received on Tue Oct 29 2019 - 08:20:57 PDT

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