Encinitas resident Russell Levan spoke during the public comment of the February 23 city council meeting, voicing his concern for the cutting of eucalyptus trees along the railroad corridor in Leucadia.
“Where does it become City of Encinitas property versus the railroad right of way?” asked Levan. He claimed that ten trees were being cut on Tuesday by the North County Transit District and asked city officials to clarify which trees in the area are within city property and which are under the stewardship of the NCTD. According to Levan, no notices about the tree-cutting were released and the “notification process failed.”
Deputy mayor Jerome Stocks addressed Levan’s concern by saying that the City is fully aware of the right-of-way issue but acknowledged the cutting of trees this week was a mistake.
“There was indeed a communication error,” said Stocks, who cited staffing changes at the North County Transit District as the reason for the unannounced cutting of trees. Stocks said that the NCTD’s executive director ordered the cutting to be stopped immediately after a phone call and that he “chastised” staff for not following written protocol with the City and for failing to notify certain interest groups.
“We have to remember that the transit district’s concern is about safety,” said Stocks. “If one of those very large eucalyptus trees falls down across those tracks…as much as we love the trees, we can’t have the trees threatening the trains.”