City of Pleasanton working to preserve trees
The Pleasanton City Council conducted the first reading of an ordinance designed to provide for tree preservation, at the July 5 meeting. The council will have the second reading and vote on its adoption at the next meeting, which is July 19.
Members of the council are Mayor Clinton J. Powell, Jimmy Magel (Dist. 1) Abraham Saenz (Dist. 2), Kathy Coronado (Dist. 3), J.R. Gallegos (Dist. 4), Roger G. Garza (Dist. 5) and Jeanne B. Israel (Dist. 6). Mayor Protem Garza assumed duties for Mayor Powell who was unable to attend.
Councilwoman Jeanne B. Israel, who placed the tree preservation ordinance on the agenda, said that Code Enforcement Officer Earl Peterson was unable to attend, as he was not feeling well. She said it turns out that City Manager Bruce Pearson has been looking into this issue. Israel said she appreciated that everyone on the council is concerned about the preservation and replacement of trees in the city.
Pearson followed Israel by saying the city currently does not have a remedy for tree preservation, in regards to development.
“To preserve the city’s beauty and protect its natural environment, many city’s citizens and some councilmembers have asked the city manager’s office to implement a procedure where the protection of trees can be a part of the city’s overall development and authority.”
Pearson then spoke on how trees can increase property values and add to a community’s attractiveness.
“Tree preservation has become a real issue where suburban sprawl and rapid economic development are at hand,” said Pearson. “The City of Pleasanton certainly fits in the second category. In addition, the preservation of trees will obviously be important as we begin the process of more residential property development in the near future.”
If the city is going to adopt an ordinance to protect trees, Pearson said it must also be important to include measures to enhance development and plant new trees. The plan should also provide needed shaded areas and a plan for replacement if a tree needs to be removed. Also, trees should be protected from unusual or unacceptable trimming practices prior to and during development.
“Preserving and enhancing the natural environment that the citizens of Pleasanton enjoy now and wish to preserve for future generations is important to our city,” said Pearson.
He added that it had been asked if this was a health and safety issue.
“Absolutely,” answered Pearson.
Trees emit oxygen and they provide shade, said Pearson. Someone had also asked if there would be a cash payment or fine in lieu of removing trees. Pearson expressed that this defeats the spirit of the ordinance.
Another issue Pearson mentioned was providing a remedy for someone wishing to move a tree who has a hardship on a piece of property. In such cases, the person can come before the Planning and Zoning Commission and ask for a variance by describing the hardship.
He also provided council with a list of acceptable (most of the hardwoods, oaks, etc.) and unacceptable (Arizona ash, mesquite, etc) trees.
Israel authored the ordinance and wanted to tell Pearson how well he addressed several issues that residents would be concerned about as well.
Israel made a motion to direct city staff to bring forth a tree preservation ordinance for consideration and first reading. This passed unanimously.