Saturday, September 3, 2016

Red Car Property: Not A Park, Not A Road, Protected Native Trees Are In Danger

Photo: Gary Vlahakis, August 30, 2016.  Many people don't know what an oak tree looks like.  (Click on photo to enlarge.)

There's a beautiful Coast Live Oak hanging on to the Red Car Property slope above the 13 lots that were just cleared of all trees on Riverside DriveThe Coast Live Oak Tree is near the border of Lot C and the next lot north on the the Red Car Property.

Neighbors report the arundo was cut down, in addition to a lot of tree trimming in this section of the Red Car Property over the holiday weekend.

The developer of the 13 Riverside Drive lots also cut down some trees on the Red Car Property.  The City did not issue permits to cut down protected native Coast Live Oaks nor California Black Walnuts on the Red Car Property.  The Red Car Property extends about 20 to 30' feet downslope toward Riverside Drive.

According to a review on the Building & Safety website, of the 13 lots on Riverside Drive - of the 8 lots with building permits pending - 6 have permits to remove protected native trees.  There were no discretionary actions by City Planning involved.  I don't know if additional homes are planned or if, because they are substandard lots, lots are being combined to build larger homes. 

There is no public review when there are no discretionary actions by City Planning.  Discretionary actions include, but are not limited to, zone changes; subdivisions; condo conversions; parking, height and yard variances.  The City has been streamlining the building and city planning process, making it easier for developers to build faster, involving less public review and creating more impact on the native habitat and neighbors in both short and long term.