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Heritage Tree Task Force Recommendations

From: domainremoved <Scott>
Date: Tue, 16 Jul 2019 10:38:19 -0700

Hello Council Members,

As a member of the Heritage Tree Task Force I am proud to be a contributor to our proposed updated Heritage Tree Ordinance.

Tonight is the the first reading of the Heritage Tree Task Force's updated City of Menlo Park’s Heritage Tree Ordinance. The Task Force, in combination with City Staff and its outside consultants have spent hundreds of combined hours crafting this document. As you know, the Task Force is composed of residents from various backgrounds and ideals and I feel that this combined effort has created a document that represents the true mixture of our city’s interests.

This being said, there is one item contained within our work that I personally feel could use some city council insight.

When it comes to the area of fines for unpermitted tree removal violations, I feel that we need to look at the value of real estate in Menlo Park and our high cost of living and put our Heritage Tree (HT) value into the same category. The Task Force document being presented to you tonight recommends that the penalty for removing a Heritage Tree without a permit should be $10,000.00. This is a significant fine but is this really a deterrent for a for removing a HT in a development project when the profits for building a spec home can be hundreds of thousands of dollars? If we would truly like the ordinance to prevent non-permitted tree removal, I suggest a using base level fine of $10,000.00 with the possibility of a much higher fine depending upon the violation. Of course these fines only work as a deterrent with proper education and when enforcements are implemented. Some developers would consider a fine of $10,000 just another building expense.

Thank you for creating the Heritage Tree Task Force. I feel that the results of our work will bring needed updates and clarity to the Heritage Tree Ordinance and keep Menlo Park’s tree canopy vibrant and healthy.

Scott Marshall
Heritage Tree Task Force Member
Received on Tue Jul 16 2019 - 10:32:00 PDT

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