City Extends Ban on Tree Removals for Up to a Year

The City Council has voted to extend its moratorium on tree removals, making it a yearlong ban until the council approves a new ordinance that lays out the rules for removals.
At its meeting last week, the council also formed a subcommittee to handle emergency removal permits, which are among the few ways a tree can be removed in the meantime. Dr. Steven Huang, the vice mayor, and Councilwoman Gretchen Shepherd Romey will evaluate emergency applications.
The moratorium was adopted in October after the City Council decided to make substantial changes to a proposed ordinance before it was introduced; that proposal called for updating procedures and policies to protect mature trees in the city. Minor changes can be made to proposed ordinances at a meeting without affecting their introduction, but substantive changes necessitate that the ordinance be re-advertised as though new.
Residents whose applications for tree removal were already at some point in the process before the moratorium will not be affected.
“This is simply extending what you approved at the last meeting,” explained City Attorney Steven Flower. “When there is a permanent ordinance adopted, we will include a provision that supersedes this one.”
Huang and Shepherd Romey will work with city arborists to prepare recommendations on emergency removals, which will ultimately have to be approved by the full council.
In other business, the contract for construction of the new restroom at Lacy Park was awarded to Long Beach-based Meyers Construction Co. to the tune of $337,400. It was the low bidder among four firms vying for the project.
The project is expected to cost approximately $381,100, assuming the 10% contingency fund is not needed. Rotary Club of San Marino recently kicked in a $50,000 donation for the restroom, closing the gap on costs for inspections and designs.
Parks and Public Works Director Michael Throne said he expected work to begin in mid-December, with completion by April.
Christmas trees and other decorations also will return
to City Hall and other facilities this year, at the direction of
the City Council. Decorations
for other upcoming holidays
also are encouraged by the council, to highlight the many cultural backgrounds in San Marino.
“I would like to see us be inclusive, not exclusive,” said Councilman Susan Jakubowski, “and I would like to enjoy those celebrations year-round. I just think the more inclusive we can be of the representation we
have in our city, the better. I would love the idea of a Christmas tree.”
The question was posed after there was some confusion
last year regarding where Christmas decorations, if any, were placed in city buildings. Crowell Public Library ultimately had a Christmas tree, but City Hall and other buildings did not.
Jakubowski made a point to bring up decorations in City Hall for Lunar New Year, which is observed by much of San Marino’s large Chinese and Taiwanese population.
“That would be nice, to encourage other departments and facilities to have that as well,” Shepherd Romey added.

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