Today is the last day for Isla Vistans to object, at least officially, to a county plan to cut down several trees.
The trees, which presently stand in spots upon which the county plans to install new sidewalks as part of its Capital Improvement Program, are located in front of residences at 850 and 945 Camino Pescadero, 6606 Pasado Rd., 6597 Trigo Rd. and 6598 Seville Rd. Signs explaining the county’s intention to remove the selected trees have been posted since May 5, the beginning of the public comment period.
The permit for the project is scheduled to be issued May 23, meaning work could begin soon after.
Although a representative from the County of Santa Barbara Public Works Dept. could not comment for this story, the project description explains the necessity for the trees’ removal.
“Redesign of the new sidewalk segments to accommodate the trees is not feasible due to the constraints of street width and drainage requirements. … Several trees posed for removal are located adjacent to proposed site locations [for] sidewalk construction; [cutting roots] would weaken the trees to the point that they would become susceptible to disease and/or unstable, thereby posing a safety hazard,” the statement read.
Some residents disagree regarding whether the removal will improve life in I.V.
Scott Young, a junior psychology major living near the targeted trees at 850 Camino Pescadero, said sidewalks do not outweigh the loss of the trees.
“I don’t really care about sidewalks,” he said. “I’d rather they just left the trees there. Trees are better for the environment.”
Jerri Contreras, a manager of Seville Apartments, said she would not miss the trees.
“I think we need sidewalks really badly in I.V. We need to get kids out of the streets,” she said. “If there were sidewalks, hopefully the kids would use them and let the cars go by.”
The county is supposed to replace the trees outside Seville Apartments with new ones consistent with those deemed suitable by the I.V. Project Area Committee/General Plan Advisory Committee (IVPAC/GPAC). I.V. Recreation and Parks Dept. board member Diane Conn said she hoped those replacing the trees choose carefully.
“When they took out the trees in front of Dublin’s and the Blue Dolphin Cafe, they put in a palm tree with no protection around it,” she said. “[It makes] no habitat, no shade.
“It looks like we’re going to lose some trees. … We did submit a list of suitable trees and [IVRPD General Manager] Derek Johnson worked with IVPAC/GPAC. We’ll see whether they expand this list, but if that palm is any example….”
Conn said those concerned about the removal and replacement should call 3rd District Supervisor Gail Marshall for help in directing the process in an acceptable way.
Although project planner David Ward cannot accept public comments after today, fliers posted around town say special circumstances permit an appeal of a final approval, such as the joint complaint of any two California Coastal Commission members or of a person aggrieved by the trees’ removal.
Those wanting to submit their opinion can contact Ward at 568-2072.