Saturday, February 8, 2014

Saturday Short Subjects: Some Things Are Better in the West

In the city of Mountain View, California, older trees are protected by municipal ordinance. “Any tree that has a trunk with a circumference of forty-eight inches (48") or more measured at fifty-four inches (54") above natural grade or a quercus (oak), sequoia (redwood) or cedrus (cedar) with a circumference of twelve inches (12") measured at fifty-four inches (54") above natural grade” is designated a “Heritage Tree.”

Anyone desiring to remove a Heritage Tree must file an “Application for a Heritage Tree Removal,” The application is then reviewed by the City’s Forestry Division staff. If the application is approved, the property owner has two years to remove the tree. “After the tree(s) is removed, the owner is typically required to plant a new 24-inch box tree(s) or pay an in-lieu fee of two hundred fifty dollars ($250) to the City of Mountain View for each tree removed.  These funds are used to plant new trees in City parks, medians and public areas.  The property owner may choose the replacement species and planting location for the new tree(s).”

It is the home owner’s responsibility to care for any Heritage Tree on his or her property. Mountain View’s ordinance states that “if you own or control real property in the City, you are responsible for maintaining and preserving all Heritage trees in a state of good health.  It is against the City ordinance to willfully injure, damage, destroy, move or remove a Heritage tree unless granted a removal permit by the City.”

What a contrast to New Haven County where residents are in a battle with utility company UI who is seeking to implement aggressive tree trimming and removal in response to power outages caused by falling tree limbs in the state’s recent super storms

This tree in New Haven survived a recent trimming to accommodate power lines. Under the new UI plan, it would almost certainly be removed. 

This would not happen in Mountain View.

If you love trees, please float the idea of Heritage Tree legislation with everyone you know. We still have most of our trees. Let’s hope we still have the time to protect them.

Why Saturday Short Subjects? Some readers may recall  being dropped at the movie theater for the Saturday matinee — two action-packed feature films with a series of short subjects (cartoons or short movies, sometimes a serial cliffhanger) sandwiched in between. Often the short subjects were the most memorable, and enjoyable, part of the morning. That explains the name. The reason behind these particular posts is that we are all short on time. My Short Subject posts should not take me as long to write or you as long to read (or try).

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