The issue has been hotly discussed over the last four months since a Danville family was denied permission to take down a mature redwood on the shared lot line with a neighbor; they contend the tree keeps them from fully enjoying their property. When Chris and Jill Beeman brought their concerns to the Town Council, it directed staff to look at taking the redwoods off the protected list.
A draft of the new ordinance was discussed at two meetings of the Planning Commission before being sent to the Town Council for its approval. In addition to taking redwoods off the protected list, the new ordinance will give some leeway to the Planning Commission in determining whether a tree can be removed.
At their June 16 meeting, council members examined the amendment sent to them by the Planning Commission. Councilman Mike Shimansky questioned the need for taking the redwoods off the list and leaving other non-native trees on it.
"Because the redwood tree is not prominent we're going to get rid of it," he stated.
Principal Planner David Crompton explained that the reason the redwood was being singled out was that there had been complaints and issues that arose from having the trees in town, while others on the list had not been seen as causing any issues.
Shimansky suggested that rather than take the tree off the list, change the conditions under which trees can be removed, which prompted a comment from Councilwoman Candace Andersen.
"I, on the other hand, like the idea that we're removing it," she said. "Not making people jump through so many administrative hoops. I think the fewer times we have to drag our residents down to get permits the better."
Mayor Newell Arnerich supported the amended ordinance.
"I think Danville has done an outstanding job of preserving our open space, trees and natural beauty. I think that's what makes Danville such a beautiful place," he said.
He then added, "Redwoods are inappropriately planted. They're planted as shrubs. I think we're doing the appropriate thing."
Council members voted unanimously to approve the amended ordinance.