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Heritage Tree Ordinance and Water Resources

From: domainremoved <Patti>
Date: Fri, 20 Mar 2015 09:57:04 -0700

Dear EQC and City Council - At your upcoming joint study session, I suggest
your discussion include the following:

   - Landscaping for new single family residential development
      - There seem to be no restrictions for installing grass lawns that
      require significant watering. Two new homes near my own have lawns, one
      actually replaced drought-tolerant plants
      - There seems to be no restriction on planting water-intensive
      landscaping under heritage trees. Example at corner of Creek and
Princeton
      where there is a spectacular oak tree and fairly new grass underneath.
      - Guidelines, helpful hints, and even regulations could be helpful
   - Inherent conflicts between solar access (passive and active) and
   trees.
      - The city's solar access provisions are ineffective. Their updating
      should encompass discussion of building envelopes and protection of solar
      access for current and potential solar installations and for
passive solar
      that provides light and heat, especially in the winter.
      - As trees grow, particularly evergreen trees, they can destroy solar
      access. Deciduous trees do not seem to be favored over evergreen
trees that
      tend to cause more problems when solar is needed the most.
   - Trees promoted on heritage tree replacement list
      - Some trees on the city's list are inappropriate in most places
      within a residential community like ours when the ultimate growth of the
      tree can have impacts throughout a neighborhood, not just next door.
      Examples:Coast Redwood Sequoia sempervirens Giant Sequoia Sequoiadedron
      giganteum Their ultimate size can take out structures, including streets,
      and grossly diminish solar access.
      Example: Our 24-year vegetable garden area is losing its sunlight due
      to such trees several houses away.
      - Some trees, like southern magnolias, need far more water than
      others because they are non-native, and they are known by arborists as
      "sidewalk busters". These and others with these characteristics should be
      discouraged, not just removed from the recommended list (as they were in
      the past)
   - Existing heritage trees (and large shrubs)- some may not be in
   appropriate places. Some redwood trees are even at corners. As they grow
   over their lifespan, they are taking out line of sight at intersections,
   increasing risks for drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists. Protecting these
   doesn't make a lot of sense. The Arbor Foundation promotes "right tree,
   right place", and that's great guidance for our city.
   - Water -
      - I'm glad there will be a study of the aquifir (I think). We need to
      know what's underground, what's tapping into it, and what the
future holds
      for this important resource.. Subsidence and access for
emergency water are
      considerations.
      - As the city contemplates water restrictions, I hope there will be
      consideration of the current disparities in water use, such as between
      those with big lawns and those who replaced them. Across the board
      reductions do not have comparable impacts on households.


Thanks for your consideration of these important matters.

Patti Fry
Menlo Park resident

PS An aside - is there any reason the EQC and other commissions don't have
a single email address? Both the Council and Planning Commission do. Also,
is there any reason this joint session isn't on the EQC calendar or list of
agendas, just on the Council's?
Received on Fri Mar 20 2015 - 09:52:08 PDT

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