Saturday, August 20, 2016

Riverside Drive: Lots Clear Cut Of All Trees

Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor, August 15, 2016.  Monday, I received an alarmed email from a neighbor, saying a large crew was cutting down ALL of the trees on the Riverside Drive lots (between Gilroy and Fletcher) where, in 2014, more than 15 protected native trees were cut down without permits from the City.  Trees were also being cut down from an adjacent Red Car Property lot as well as one or two lots not included in the unpermitted tree removal 2 years ago. (Click on photos to enlarge.)

Photos from more than one neighbor, were posted to Twitter as soon we received themInquiries and photos were also sent to CD13.  A CD13 representative responded that a permit was issued to remove one protected California Black Walnut Tree on one lot. 

Two years ago, we reported illegal tree removal as it was happening.  In 2014, they chopped down the largest and healthiest Black Walnuts first.  Like Monday, it was a large crew that moved quickly.  At the time, there were no applications pending with Building & Safety.  No permits for protected tree removal were applied for either. 

Today, there appear to be 8 or 9 building permits for homes, in various stages of plancheck, submitted separately for each of the 8 or 9 substandard lots.  A permit for removing 1 protected Black Walnut Tree was issued for just one of the lots.  It is not the same lot for which grading permits were already issued.

Expect a lot of grading activity as (according to the applications submitted) they will be cutting into the hillside and building retaining walls. No discretionary actions by City Planning were involved, so there was no public review. 
Photo: Diane Edwardson, May 24, 2016.  A couple of months ago, I was impressed at the number of protected California Black Walnuts had grown back on the lots from the August 2015 carnage.

CD13 did not respond to  questions regarding whether or not the property owners were ever fined for illegal 2014 protected tree removal.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, May 24, 2016. The Eucalyptus tree in the center of this photo is the large Eucalyptus still standing the first photo, as was the Black Walnut directly to the left of it.  

Also worth noting: the dry Arundo on the top of the hill is also still standing on the Red Car Property Lot C.  Neighbors are still awaiting brush clearance throughout the Red Car Property.

Riverside Drive: Mudwatch, January 10, 2016