At the City Council meeting on the evening of Monday, May 22, the council voted in favor of saving two city-owned ficus trees located on Galvin Street Parkway, adjacent to 10729-31 Northgate Street.
This overturns the previous decision on October 11, 2022 by the council to remove the trees due to the damage the roots were causing to the sidewalk and nearby property.
A staff note reads, “Staff recommends the City Council set aside and reconsider the Council’s decision of October 11, 2021 upholding the appeal of the retired Public Works Director’s decision to approve the request to remove the trees located at 10729-31 Northgate Street and either: Affirm the decision of the retired Public Works Director to approve the Applicant’s request for removal of two trees located at 10729-31 Northgate Street, and direct staff to prepare a Resolution with findings memorializing that decision for approval at a subsequent Council meeting.”
Or, it continues, “Grant the appeal and overturn the decision of the retired Public Works Director, and adopt a Resolution setting aside the October 11, 2021 decision and adopting findings that, following reconsideration of the appeal and October 11, 2021 decision, substantial evidence supports the conclusion that the decision to approve the request to remove the trees located at 10729- 31 Northgate Street was based on an error or disputed findings, thereby denying the Applicant’s request to remove the trees.”
It is that second option that the council sided with, with Mayor Albert Vera absent and just four members voting (Vice Mayor Yasmine-Imani McMorrin presiding). Most of the public speakers were in favor of keeping the trees, with arguments made about the scenery and the environment. And the applicant spoke about the ongoing damage being done to her property.
Ultimately, the council listened to the staff who provided new evidence that the damage is minor, and hasn’t really gotten worse.
Later in the meeting, Action Item 1 saw Juneteenth designated a city-sponsored event, with $10,000 in funding provided for event production. That vote went 3-0, with Vera absent and Mcmorrin abstaining due to her involvement with the event.
Action Item 2 saw the approval of a Summer Concert Series, with requests for a promoter now outgoing.