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Fate of Bluebird Canyon trees debated

Arborist recommends removing 11 of the 31 eucalyptus trees in the neighborhood. Residents' opinions vary.

June 27, 2012|By Barbara Diamond

Bluebird Canyon residents debated Tuesday about a report from a certified arborist who had inspected city-owned trees there.

Recommendations included the removal of 11 of the 31 city-owned eucalyptus trees in the heavily wooded neighborhood, which has been divided on the issue.

The 26 residents who attended the meeting hosted Tuesday by Public Works Director Steve May at the Community Center appeared to have been brought no closer to agreement by the report.

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"Some residents don't want to see any of the trees removed; others want them all removed," May said.

Arborist Ed Black's report identified the trees by number, giving a description of their condition — diseased or badly maintained — and locations that present a potential danger to people or property, which determined his recommendations.

"These are beautiful trees, and I hate to see them taken out," Black said. "I am hoping someone will replant the trees further from the road."

Black's recommendations were challenged at the meeting by tree advocates who asked for a peer review.

Resident Virginia Morse said an arborist she and her husband hired did not agree that two eucalyptus trees they cherish should be removed.

"We don't own them, but they are the view we have," Morse said. "If they are taken down we would have a better ocean view, but we love those trees.

"If they were really dangerous we would take them down, as long as it is based in fact, not in fear."

Her husband, Mace Morse, agreed to fund a peer review.

"The more heads on this, the better," Black said.

May muttered, "It's only money."

The city paid $10,000 for Black's report.

"We choose him because of his experience," said May. "He has worked for the city in the past, and he could do the work in the time frame we had."

May said that he might ask for a peer review of specific trees, but not for the entire report.

"Let's make sure we come to a conclusion that's intelligent, not just because someone did a report," said Ruben Flores, owner of Laguna Nursery.

Ted Keyes said he trusts Black's report but thinks residents from other neighborhoods should butt out of the discussion.

"This is an upper Bluebird Canyon issue," said Keyes. "A lot of people outside the neighborhood have something to say and shouldn't."

His position was disputed by Todd Green.

"Keeping this a neighborhood issue is contradictory to what the town is all about," Green said.

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