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Unwanted trees might relocate

Officials say residents should notify city if they want right-of-way trees moved.

February 05, 2010|By Zain Shauk

CITY HALL — Weeks after the city had a contractor plant pine trees in the public right-of-way of front yards in north Glendale — upsetting some residents who said it was unexpected and didn’t mesh with existing landscaping — officials say they will consider moving the recent digs.

The move came after the city acknowledged that it had failed to notify residents of the tree planting before a third-party contractor carried out the project.

Glendale workers responded Wednesday by hand-delivering letters to the 35 affected homes, offering to discuss complaints about the placement or installation of the trees, Glendale Public Works Director Steve Zurn said.

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Officials may be willing to move the trees, depending on residents’ concerns, he said.

“If they give us a call, we’ll work with them,” Zurn said. “If it’s possible we can locate the tree somewhere else, we’ll try to do that. We always do.”

Glendale contractors installed 50 pine trees in recent weeks on land in a north Glendale neighborhood for which the city holds an easement.

Although many of the trees were planted on strips of grass between sidewalks and curbs, others were placed in what appeared to be private lawns because the land under easement was not separated by sidewalks, officials said.

But although many residents welcomed the addition of the new trees, some were upset that they were not consulted before crews dug holes in their front yards and planted trees that had the potential to eventually become the dominant feature of already mature landscapes.

“We did make a mistake in not notifying people,” Zurn said. “But we’re really proud of our forest, and the ability to plant trees in this economy is something that I’m proud of. There’s a lot of cities who can’t plant trees.”

The city plants between 200 and 250 trees annually, often replacing dead or diseased trees that had been removed, he said.

But officials typically inform residents that new trees will be planted, said City Manager Jim Starbird, who sympathized with residential concerns about the placement of trees that could become large, dominant features.

Starbird, who lives on Mountain Street, where some of the new trees were placed, has a large city pine tree on his front lawn.

“They are large and they are gorgeous, and they really do create the character of the neighborhood, but when you look at a small tree and think, ‘That’s no big deal,’ you have to imagine what it’s going to look like 20, 30, 40 years from now,” he said.

One of the new city pine trees, for example, was planted near two magnolias in front of a neighbor’s house, Starbird said.

He took a photo of the arrangement, which he thought could become a problem down the line, and sent it to Zurn.

“I know in time they’re going to conflict with the trees that are already there,” he said. “The placement has to be done carefully.”


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