Danville council to hear tree-removal appeal

Police department update, informational reports among other agenda items

The Danville Town Council is set to debate a request to overturn the town's previous denial of a residential tree-removal application Tuesday evening.

Steven and Ann Peltz want to remove a California sycamore tree, roughly 37 inches in diameter, that sits in the front yard of their Love Lane property but is also protected under the town's tree preservation ordinance, according to town principal planner David Crompton.

The Planning Commission denied their tree-removal application earlier this summer, prompting the Peltzes to appeal that decision to the council. Crompton recommends the council deny the appeal and uphold the previous application denial.

In letters to the town, the owners cited as reasons for their request: the tree's incompatibility with planned landscape redesign, drainage concerns from the tree's root crown raising the elevation of the front yard area, invasive roots and safety concerns from falling branches, Crompton said.

Town officials don't think those reasons fit the criteria for granting a permit, as outlined in the town's ordinance, and they believe the tree is in good health and doesn't pose safety risks beyond those associated with a healthy California sycamore, he said.

The tree-removal appeal is the only public hearing scheduled for Tuesday's Town Council meeting, set to start at 7:30 p.m. inside the Town Meeting Hall at 201 Front St. in downtown Danville.

In other business

Council members will hear regular reports from Danville police chief Steve Simpkins and Planning Commission chair Paul Radich.

They will also receive updates on the Finance Committee, the Tri-Valley Transportation Council and other transportation issues, County Connection and the Street Smarts program.

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19 people like this
Posted by Tom
a resident of Danville
on Aug 31, 2015 at 9:55 pm

Why can't we the people allow property owners to use their property as they see fit? Don't like that they are removing a tree? Plant one in your own yard, or request they plant one in exchange for the removal. The Earth doesn't care where the tree grows.

13 people like this
Posted by Tracy
a resident of Alamo
on Sep 1, 2015 at 7:30 am

If the tree is that old and falls on their house or injures someone, who's going to pay for that? The town council?

What if it's growing under the foundation of the house, then can it be removed? Are the neighbors complaining about the tree potentially being cut? They should not attempt to control another neighbor for something like this. If it's on Love Lane, I'm sure their plans will only up the property values in that neighborhood.

If the town council and planning commission have nothing better to do then make more meetings about this one tree, then Danville needs to elect new members who can get their act together and not waste tax payers money.

Let them cut tree and plant another one. My goodness, they've paid enough for the house.

21 people like this
Posted by Mike Engle
a resident of Danville
on Sep 1, 2015 at 8:07 am

This amazes me. The town of Danville didn't seem to care about 4 protected oaks on my property when they collected fees for my neighbor to build a pool house. The construction was within feet of the trunks of these four 50-60 foot oaks that are now dying. The Town's response when I voiced my concerns when construction began was I could always sue my neighbor in Civil court if the trees didn't make it. Perhaps this homeowner can offer to pay additional fees to take their tree down because I believe the Town cares more about revenue than trees.

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Posted by Maggie
a resident of Danville
on Sep 1, 2015 at 1:06 pm

Generally speaking, I'm in favor of trees and I appreciate the Town of Danville adopting an ordinance that protects certain trees in our community and glad for the enforcement. I believe that trees affect property value of the owner's and neighbors, in a positive manner. I realize that often owning and maintaining a tree is a pain in the neck-picking up leaves all year long, but if all Danville homeowners took out all their tall mature trees, Danville would no longer be a nice place to live. A 37' trunk diameter tree is a landmark and a treasure to the community. Remember the extraordinary measures the town council took to save the 'Danville Oak' on Diablo Road several years ago? It would have been a travesty if the council had decided to remove the tree and we were now stuck with a 10-15' tree as a replacement-waiting and waiting for it to grow to a majestic height.

I trust the town council to weigh the pertinent facts in the request to remove this tree and not be swayed by immaterial facts and heated discourse. Certainly, I cannot honestly weigh in as to the correctness of the town staff denial to remove based on the very limited facts of this article.

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Posted by Online Editor
a resident of another community
on Sep 1, 2015 at 2:29 pm

Online Editor is a registered user.

Please note: This story has been updated with additional details about the tree-removal appeal. We were unable to access the town's full staff report on the case until mid-morning today. Information from that document is now included in the article. To view the full staff report, visit Web Link.

5 people like this
Posted by Karla
a resident of Danville
on Sep 1, 2015 at 3:15 pm

We lived through the loss of a huge 50'tree due to mother nature that fell across our property at 4AM. One vehicle was crushed, another damaged, our home was damaged and we had to install a new electrical panel. Thank goodness no one was hurt. Let them take the tree down, have them plant another in a better location, and let life go on.

3 people like this
Posted by frankly
a resident of San Ramon
on Sep 2, 2015 at 6:28 am

Now a city bunch declares and forces homeowner to suck up added legal and insurance costs. How?

Even if tree if healthy, its age may be the solution to removing.
Age is a major factor, inherent qualities of this tree all point to added legal insurance costs which the City will force on its residents to keep city rules in place.

Age plus added weather changes can and will bring sudden tree deaths which City force onto citizens to assume meaning big time costs shortly

2 people like this
Posted by FanDanville
a resident of Danville
on Sep 2, 2015 at 11:36 am

Oh, it is a beautiful tree for sure!
I can see why the Town is trying to protect it! That's one of the finest Sycamore's around.

and yes it is a bit too directly in front of the house for some aesthetic tastes. But that is not uncommon for this neighborhood.

Go look at this lot online. See 238 Love Lane, Danville, CA.
And also note the extensive house remodeling. Wonder whether this property is being re-modeled for owner's long-term residence......or flip? Maybe make that a condition of any tree removal!?!

It's branches seem far enough away from the structure (so I don't buy that it's a real safety hazard).
It's root crown although high is far from the house and doesn't directly cause a drainage issue for the house. The house is a bit sunken anyway, so some drainage measures are going to have to be taken around the house....but the tree's presence (or removal) won't really effect that.
And what does the PROPOSED NEW LANDSCAPE look like and call for? And is there any tree replacement proposed?

This is a pretty tough call.
Allow this removal and each and every other neighbor should be justified to do removals on their property as well.

There were a lot of trees planted in this area--a long time ago--that were planted in "less than aesthetically perfect" locations. Hard to correct it now. The whole neighborhood has this issue and some owners have dealt with it better than others (have a design that works with the trees).

Hey Owner, How about coming up with a Landscape Design that actually uses the tree--like an enclosed front yard courtyard with some high walls and brick or deck flooring with seating around the tree base. That's what I'd do. It's going to take years for new landscaping to grow into size (unless you've got one of those poor plans that looks great in the first year, then gets over-grown by the third year as plants reach their true mature size).

Usually I'd side with the homeowner's right to do what they want with their property--as long as they are going to live with it. But I'd have to be impressed with the new plan and the thought into it.
I don't have time to find and see the proposed new landscape, but it must not be impressing the Town as compensating for this tree's removal.
Well, good luck all!

2 people like this
Posted by Derek
a resident of Danville
on Sep 2, 2015 at 3:46 pm

One way to slow the spread of roots is with regular trimming. Limb removal on giant trees is expensive for sure (especially if your trimmer/arborist is fully insured, and you are a foolish if he isn't). But if you bought a house with one or more huge trees and didn't take that into account, whose fault is that? We've spent easily $10K trimming since we moved here, but that was just part of the program. I almost never side with the Danville city council or planners on anything, but I can see their take on this matter. I concur with FanDan.

When less water for roots is available, de-bulking or removing the tree are the only two things that can prevent serious problems. But why not start with lessening the mass before you hack the whole tree down? Less tree = less water uptake. It isn't rocket science. If your tree is diseased, then by all means show that to the city folks.

Mike Engle, your story is maddening, not that I don't believe you. Had I been in your place I would have marched down to La Gonda and demanded some answers face to face. The city is pretty schizo about what they let pass and what they fuss over, and sometimes an aggressive stance is all they seem to understand. As far as pools go, they should not even be permitted anymore.

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Posted by Alice
a resident of Danville
on Sep 3, 2015 at 8:16 am

Homeowners should be allowed to remove any plant that is not native to the area.

6 people like this
Posted by miSFit
a resident of Diablo
on Sep 3, 2015 at 1:15 pm

Wow. The Town of Danville (TOD) will allow the removal of all those trees at 841 Podva Rd to allow a developer to subdivide an acre-and-a-half into four lots to build four single-family residential houses, and they won’t let these homeowners remove ONE tree!?! And you know why that is of course….because the Town doesn’t make any money from that! Shame on you TOD.
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