Thursday, September 8, 2011

Semi Tropic Spiritualists' Tract: Tree Removal Hearing Tomorrow at Board of Public Works

Photo: Diane Edwardson, January 3, 2011.  The Semi Tropic Spiritualists' Tract slope contours are more evident during the winter, when the native California Black Walnuts have dropped their leaves.  (Click on photo to enlarge.)

Tomorrow, new developers for 2400 Alessandro, the Semi Tropic Spiritualists' Tract, will seek approval from the Board of Public Works to cut down 42 native trees on the 3-acre hillside site.  California Black Walnuts and Coast Live Oak Trees are among the native trees covered by the City's Protected Tree Ordinance # 177404.  This hearing does not cover the other significant sized trees they are cutting down too. 

9:30 AM 
City Hall Room 350
200 N. Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Photo: Diane Edwardson, November 2005.  "Significant" non-native trees, like this pine tree, only have to be replaced on a 1:1 basis with trees that will never reach this size in our lifetimes.  (For scale, the woman in the photo is 6' tall.)  (Click on photo to enlarge.)

The site will be cleared of all except 5 trees per the original plan, approved over the appeal of neighbors who were supported by Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy in 2009.  The plan identified 60 trees for removal. 

Perhaps the most interesting bit of information to come out of this hearing notice is the Soils Approval Letter, from the Grading Dept of Building & Safety, dated June 23, 2011 (Log #74117).  It drops the condition requiring a stormwater infiltration system.  (Note: This just came to light Wednesday night and has not been researched.)  Considering the steepness of the slope and the removal and recompaction of the entire hillside, this might be questionable.  Hope they plan to improve the storm drain system on Allesandro at Riverside.  We already get mud flows in big rain storms several times a year.

Semi Tropic Spiritualists' Tract subdivision approved in 2009 requires cutting down all but 5 trees, including those in the slope between the red line and Allesandro.  (Click on photo to enlarge.) 

Historic photo link: 1940 Aerial shot of Semi Tropic Spiritualists' Tract

*UPDATE 9-9-11: Board of Public Works continued the vote until their September 28 meeting.  The board instructed the developer to reach out to the community.  Read more background and comments on The Eastsider.