News

Redwoods coming off town's protected tree list

Danville staff told to retool tree ordinance, removing coastal redwoods

Recent questions concerning Danville's tree ordinance have prompted the Town Council to begin the process of revamping the law to exclude redwood trees from the protected species list.

At their April 21 meeting, Danville resident Dr. Robert Stannard addressed the council during the public comment section. Stannard referred to the recent attempt by a Danville couple to remove a redwood from their property. The request was denied as was an appeal, due to the fact that the redwood is on the town's protected species list.

"The coastal redwood is the tallest species on Earth. They only grow in one area, a narrow strip between Oregon and Monterrey Bay. They're not native to Danville," Stannard stated.

He said redwoods don't have a taproot, so the only way it can remain stable is to send out shallow roots in all directions. He added that problems arise from the roots, such as damage to a home's foundations, buckling of driveways and sidewalks, and other issues.

"They can provide a hazard for the unwary homeowner," he explained.

Town Council members are not allowed to respond or take action on items discussed in the public comment section, but Mayor Newell Arnerich said that the council can give directions to staff. Which is what the council did, directing planning staff to remove the redwood from the protected species list and then send the amended ordinance to the Planning Commission.

"It's pretty cut and dried," said Town Manager Joe Calabrigo. "The council didn't direct us to go and reexamine the tree ordinance, they said to take the redwood trees out of it and send it back."

Calabrigo said they have not scheduled the issue to go before the Planning Commission, but because of the simple nature of the request he expects it to be a fairly fast turnaround. If it goes to the Planning Commission by its May 12 meeting, it could be passed on to the Town Council members for consideration at their June 2 session.

Comments

Posted by Bob, a resident of Danville
on Apr 29, 2009 at 12:21 pm

Redwoods grow as far south as the Santa Lucia mountains so I find that Dr. Stannard could be wrong with his facts.

They also grow as far inland as 35 miles from the coast. I know for a fact there is a huge area around Moraga with groves. There is a small town there fully surrounded by these trees called Canyon. This place is 8 to 10 miles from here over the Las Trampas Hills.

Oh yes danville is located just East of the Las Trampas hills in case Dr. Stannard didn't know this.

All they really need is some coastal fog or a stream for water in the summer.

Native Range: The range of Redwood extends southward from two groves on the Chetco River in the extreme southwest corner of Oregon (lat. 42 09' N.), to Salmon Creek Canyon in the Santa Lucia Mountains of southern Monterey County, CA (lat. 35 41' N.). This Redwood belt is an irregular coastal strip about 724 km (450 mi) long and generally 8 to 56 km (5 to 35 mi) wide. Within this region, Redwood trees grow now, or could grow, on an estimated 647 500 ha (1.6 million acres). Of this area, 260 200 ha (643,000 acres) comprise the commercial coast Redwood forest type (more than 50 percent Redwood stocking). The remainder of the area contains parks, other forest types containing Redwood, and recently logged Redwood type. The old-growth Redwood, much of which is in State and National Parks, occupies less than 80 940 ha (200,000 acres). The old-growth in commercial forests will be harvested within the next few decades. A major discontinuity splits the type in southern Humboldt County, California. South of Sonoma County, California, Redwoods grow in detached and irregular areas to the southern extremity of the range. (Silvics of North America. 1990. Agriculture Handbook 654.)


Posted by Ray Tresko, a resident of Danville
on Apr 29, 2009 at 1:01 pm

The redwoods are in fact beautiful, but certainly not in the small backyard landscaping of Danville, our neighbors have numerous redwoods in the back of their property, far away from their home, but close to other homes...there is considerable damage done to our property because of the growth of the ever encroaching root systems, not to mention the tons of dead and dried branches blown into our yards continually. We tried to get two of three of the trees removed from the encroachment being done to our property, only to get permission from the Town for the removal of one tree which was pushing our fence over..we live in fear that these giants will be blown over by our winds, as two of these redwoods were just 11 feet from our patio...and very near the property line..We were told by the Town of Danville, to change our method of landscaping to accommodate the trees and be grateful for the shade..We had to prove hard damage to get one tree removed and had to pay for half of the removal of the tree and replace the fence. Bravo change the law!


Posted by Community courtesy, a resident of another community
on Apr 30, 2009 at 7:34 am

Dear Dolores,

Finding justification for a political decision is always easily contrived. The reality is Danville's commission and council are responding to the near silence of pending legal actions that will impact the Weber property.

Neighborhoods, in their ever-growing influence of their wealth and counsel, simply required Danville to make a political decision.

Hal, as a community courtesy


Posted by Barbara, a resident of Danville
on May 1, 2009 at 1:43 pm

I hope the exclusion of Redwood trees does not mean they will cut down all the Redwoods surrounding the Veteran's Hall when they rebuild it.


Posted by A Gardening Fool, a resident of Danville
on May 3, 2009 at 1:15 pm

Just because redwoods grow inland - anywhere - doesn't mean they are native there. They have been planted by humans. They grow quickly, up to five feet a year. Forty years ago homeowners were instructed in gardening books to plant them in groves, 6 feet apart. That is insanity in a home garden. I saw a licensed gardener plant one between a hot tub and fence in a two foot space. I urged the homeowner to get it out fast. They have been planted all over inappropriately and cause a lot of mess, damage and danger. A homeowner should have the right to have his/her garden suitable to his/her enjoyment. The government, any branch of it, has no business telling anyone what to do on their property regarding planting a garden. Because a plant is native to Danville does not mean it belongs in someone's yard. Home gardeners make all kinds of mistakes planting - trees in particular. Plenty of "native" plants (trees AND shrubs) grow way too large for many home gardens. I urge everyone to use some common sense and have respect for property owners' rights to have their gardens the way they choose.


Posted by Robert Flagg, a resident of Danville
on May 5, 2009 at 7:55 am

The news that redwood trees might be taken off the protected list is the best news I have had in 32 years in Danville. I have been frustrated beyond belief because of the detritus from a group of them at least 70 feet tall that were planted on the property line. Have had to replace the fence several times as the trees expand and ruin it. Unable to plant any flowers in half of my yard because the rubbish from these trees smother the plants. Also have expended considerable expense to protect gutters and downspouts. They frequently require paid labor to keep them and my roof clean.


Posted by Jill Beeman, a resident of Danville
on May 5, 2009 at 5:26 pm

May 12th the Town Council will be discussing the issue of Coastal Redwoods. I truly believe that they are trying to make some changes to benefit homeowners by reviewing the tree ordinance that had been written when these tree's were new to the area and needless to say much smaller. I am aware that they are reviewing submitted information about their root growth and the problems that creates, their risks of stand alone tree's falling, the fact that they naturally loose thier branches from amazing heights, the fact that they are water-hogs, in addition to my earlier submission, that they take away our sunshine in the winter months. I am hoping that the Town of Danville will allow more flexibility to homeowners when applying for a permit to remove a coastal redwood tree that has taken away the enjoyment of your own landscape design.
I would be thrilled to replace a 30 year old redwood with a young tree. I would even agree to another redwood, just let me start with a smaller redwood and in 30 years, let me do it again. I will pay for the permit twice and let the town earn some money in the process. I am just hoping the Town of Danville allows homeowners more control over their own properties when impacted greatly by overgrown trees in relation to their house. If the tree is too close to the house and is 4 times the house in heighth, not only is it a nuisance to both neighbors, it is just plain scary. There should be a formula for overgrowth in a residential area. I am looking forward to hearing how the town will vote on June 5th.
Enjoy the native Oak Tree's, Sycamore's and fruit tree's all in bloom while still allowing that beautiful Danville sun to shine through all year long. That's why i chose to move here!!!


Posted by Jill Beeman, a resident of Danville
on May 5, 2009 at 5:37 pm

Correction...
Town might vote on June 2nd ..not june 5th


Posted by Rufous, a resident of Alamo
on May 6, 2009 at 3:26 pm

Listen... hear the chainsaw? I just got permission from my HOA to remove a 24" diameter redwood from my back yard. (not that I was waiting for it) Roots everywhere. Blocks the sun. Planted as a screen 25 years ago now it's too big. Soon I'll have firewood, but look out! the clean air nazis might be patrolling my neighborhood on a "save the air" night. Property rights and personal freedom must trump the call of communism.


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