Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Impudence in Tree Removal Deserves Censure in Appeal Hearing

As we breathe in the smoke from the acres of trees and forest on fire right now, it might seem small to consider the loss of four or five trees in the city.

Thursday the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board will hear the appeal of retroactive, after-the-fact permits for street tree removal at the Wren Heights development on Salem Heights.

From the Facts and Findings section
But at least part of it sure looks like a slam-dunk, and it is fascinating that the City is still arguing for leniency. The City had even reminded the property owner prior to the removal that permits were needed. All the owner/developer had to do was apply for the permits, and the City would have granted them.

Since the prior approvals always discussed tree removal, arguing the permits themselves - as opposed to the timing and procedural sequencing - was improper will be much more difficult, and those parts of the appeal will likely be harder to sustain.

But a flagrant disregard of city regulations after the City issued a courtesy reminder should merit some kind of censure and penalty. On these narrow, procedural grounds there is strong reason to uphold this part of the appeal.

I'll be interesting to see how the Board rules and if they sustain any other parts of the appeal.

For a discussion of the appeal with much stronger criticism of the City, see at Hinessight:

Home page tile on the SJ earlier this morning

But of course there is the smoke, the fires, and the evacuation orders. The County remains obdurate on climate, and they seem unlikely to make any connection between this wind event, the forest fires, and their increasing probability and severity from climate disruption.

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