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Old Town's old pepper trees targeted

Sentiment can't repair buckled sidewalk hazard

One of six trees likely to be removed
One of six trees likely to be removed

LuAnn Porter attempted to rally the troops on Facebook to attend the Old Town San Diego Community Planning Group meeting on Wednesday, August 12. It ended up being a small affair with six or seven city staffers and even fewer local residents.

According to Porter, the city plans to remove six trees on Juan Street between Mason and Twiggs on the west side near the Old Town Theater and stables. In this area, the sidewalks are buckling due to the trees' roots.

"I'm not sure there is a way to stop this train of destruction,” Porter commented after the meeting.

The city discussed the possibility of curb extensions into the street to keep the six trees but decided against the notion because it would cause the loss of six parking spaces.

According to Porter, the city will replace all the trees with smaller pepper trees and will only commit to watering them for three months. The city wouldn’t plant them before this fall.

Porter stated that she felt the city had already made a decision before the meeting and that community input didn't count for much. It doesn't seem to Porter or her neighbor Kristin Chapin that the city has fully explored other solutions.

The city has gone back and forth on both the removal and replacement of the pepper trees. When ground broke on the Juan Street improvement project last August, the public was shown landscape plans that included the existing pepper trees.

In February, the City Planning Department identified 18 trees for likely removal on the east side of Juan (between Taylor and Harney). The city also stated at the February planning meeting that oak and holly oak would replace the trees. In March, trees along Juan were marked for removal.

Alana Coons, director of Save Our Heritage Organisation (SOHO), voiced concern in March that the public was unaware of how many trees were targeted for removal and that there was need for a community meeting.

This meeting was held on March 25. According to David Swarens, a SOHO board member, there were a range of viewpoints supporting no tree removal. The planning group went on record in April saying that they would explore all options to prevent unnecessary tree removal. Ultimately, the city has the final say on what happens to the trees.

The next meeting is on September 9 at 3:30 pm at the Whaley House Courtroom.

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One of six trees likely to be removed
One of six trees likely to be removed

LuAnn Porter attempted to rally the troops on Facebook to attend the Old Town San Diego Community Planning Group meeting on Wednesday, August 12. It ended up being a small affair with six or seven city staffers and even fewer local residents.

According to Porter, the city plans to remove six trees on Juan Street between Mason and Twiggs on the west side near the Old Town Theater and stables. In this area, the sidewalks are buckling due to the trees' roots.

"I'm not sure there is a way to stop this train of destruction,” Porter commented after the meeting.

The city discussed the possibility of curb extensions into the street to keep the six trees but decided against the notion because it would cause the loss of six parking spaces.

According to Porter, the city will replace all the trees with smaller pepper trees and will only commit to watering them for three months. The city wouldn’t plant them before this fall.

Porter stated that she felt the city had already made a decision before the meeting and that community input didn't count for much. It doesn't seem to Porter or her neighbor Kristin Chapin that the city has fully explored other solutions.

The city has gone back and forth on both the removal and replacement of the pepper trees. When ground broke on the Juan Street improvement project last August, the public was shown landscape plans that included the existing pepper trees.

In February, the City Planning Department identified 18 trees for likely removal on the east side of Juan (between Taylor and Harney). The city also stated at the February planning meeting that oak and holly oak would replace the trees. In March, trees along Juan were marked for removal.

Alana Coons, director of Save Our Heritage Organisation (SOHO), voiced concern in March that the public was unaware of how many trees were targeted for removal and that there was need for a community meeting.

This meeting was held on March 25. According to David Swarens, a SOHO board member, there were a range of viewpoints supporting no tree removal. The planning group went on record in April saying that they would explore all options to prevent unnecessary tree removal. Ultimately, the city has the final say on what happens to the trees.

The next meeting is on September 9 at 3:30 pm at the Whaley House Courtroom.

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Comments
5

So for 6 parking they are going to kill the trees? SMH this place is going to hell.

Aug. 15, 2015

That's what I'm saying. Give up the parking spaces, keep the trees.

Aug. 15, 2015

As part of the Seismic Research Project for the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS), California Edison published the January 15, 2013 Report on Paleoseismic Trenching in Old Town.

http://tinyurl.com/20130115

Although the Fault Investigation states that the Old Town Fault crossing the Golf Course and under the Pepper Trees is "Active," the City of San Diego classifies the Old Town fault only as "Potentially active" thus no mitigation required. See Pages 11 and 12. On Mason Street near the Pepper Trees the active Old Town Fault was inferred to be located between CPT 8 and 11 locations, and near Deflected drainages that could cause some of the problems associated with the Pepper Tree roots.

The active Old Town Fault also crosses Taylor Street, Mason Street, and Juan Street, which is undergoing concrete repair, with no acknowledgement of active faulting, through a loophole that does not exist.

Aug. 15, 2015

Those are not native trees: they damage sidewalks, leave messy berries all over and generally are a nuisance. They used to be common for landscaping in housing developments and if you've had one in your yard or - as was common - in the sidewalk median strip, you know first hand the problems with these tree-sized weeds.

Aug. 16, 2015

The part of the forest in the Sierras where I live is loaded with Ponderosas and Cedars over 150 feet tall. I have removed a few, and will take down some more for another shop building. There are a lot more, and some saplings will be left to mature. Cut the Peppers down, they dont belong where they will damage property or endanger the citizens of your city. Plant something nicer and less messy somewhere else.

Aug. 16, 2015

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