Letter: Revision of the Approval Process for Tree Removal on Commercial Property

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Sutter 1 car park shade trees – Courtesy photo

The following letter was sent to the City Council of the Tree Commission approved with a 6-0 vote…

To the municipal council:

We are writing to you to seek clarification and a review of the approval process for tree removal on commercial property.

The resolution establishing the Tree Commission (06-187) states that the purpose of the Davis Tree Commission is “to act in an advisory capacity on matters relating to trees, including the review and approval of requests for the removal of trees. ‘trees’.

Three large projects have recently had a large number of trees cut without the contribution of the Tree Commission: 205 trees in a two-phase project, currently underway (expansion of Sutter Hospital and addition of facilities solar); 83 trees in a project to replace these trees with photovoltaic solar panels (Cousteau Pl.); 103 trees as site preparation for new development (Bretton Woods).

These requests were never brought before the public or the Tree Commission, before being heard by the Aménagement Commission. They have also not been presented to the Natural Resources Commission, nor to the 2 by 2 subcommittee between the Trees Commission and the Natural Resources Commission which is currently reviewing the parking portion of the Trees Ordinance and the way to maximize both solar panels and trees. canopy.

These three events alone add up to a loss for the City of 391 mature trees. These trees took one to several decades to reach maturity.

Tree Davis, in conjunction with the City of Davis, planted 379 new trees between October 2020 and April 2021. It took a lot of hard work for this to happen during the pandemic.

So, in a year when a record number of trees were planted by the City and the community, the City of Davis has a net loss of trees for the year. It’s especially disheartening in a time of global warming and in a city that prides itself on its canopy – a city that has called itself a “Tree City USA” for decades. Add to this that the trees in these applications are mature trees while the replacement trees will be small and the loss of the community canopy is staggering. The Tree Commission firmly believes that we will not reduce our environmental impact by removing mature and established trees and reducing our canopy.

There is surely a problem with our process when a community member has to come before the Trees Commission to chop down a single tree, but a company can chop down any number of trees – including trees that were required for development approval – without any Tree Commission or community input.

The Trees Commission respectfully requests that the removal of trees from twenty trees, an iconic tree or a project greater than or equal to five acres be subjected to a process similar to that of the removal of trees in the city. . This request is in line with the recommendations made by this Commission regarding the updating of the Trees Ordinance. The Trees Commission also respectfully requests that a process for the removal of trees by landowners be developed that is aligned with the City’s objectives regarding its urban forest and that the process emphasizes transparency, accountability. and community engagement.

Respectfully,

City of Davis Tree Commission


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