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February 15, 2013

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jennifer

Though I am not very familiar with the details of this project, I certainly know of the beautiful bunya bunya tree off to the side of the parcel, and not far from the grove on ECR. What a pity to lose any heritage tree--unlike manmade creations, heritage trees are irreplaceable. I'd hope that a city like ours would remove them only if no other option is feasible.

In 1977, Burlingame's Beautification Commission under City Council: Vic Mangini mayor, Irving Amstrup, William Crosby, Bud Harrison, and R. D. Martin, with research and editing from Martha and Karen Benson, John Hoffman (Parks Dept.) published an extensive booklet called "The Trees of Burlingame."

In it, well before the topic of global warming had come to the fore, were emphasized all the benefits of living in an environment filled with trees, including the role trees play to shelter and help nourish wildlife. It included a comprehensive listing of tree types, with very impressive photos and specific locations, so that the public could go see and appreciate what has been planted in Burlingame to create this lovely and unique environment for which we have been known, as early as the turn of the 20th century.

Sadly, it appears that many of the specimen trees in the booklet are no longer with us.

Here are some excerpts (c.1977):

"Trees are the dominant features of Burlingame's landscape. Burlingame has justifiably been called an urban, man-made forest. Most of the city is indeed covered over with an arboreal canopy concealing or softening the harsh lines of man's intrusive structures. Burlingame's mild winters and temperate summers make it possible to grow almost every species of tree found in any part of the world except the real tropics. Trees provide homes, harborage and food for birds and beneficial small animals, all of which are essential in the control of insects. Many trees, particularly the eucalyptus, provide an important source of nectar for honeybees--of course essential for pollenizing fruit trees. We would have no lemons, no apples, peaches or other fruit without the pollenizers. Collection and control of air-borne contaminents and pollution are effectively performed by trees; they remove airborne dust, sand, ash, smoke pollen, odors and fumes from the air."

"They are natural air conditioners, cooling and humidifying the air on hot days, transpiring great quantities of water by sucking up much moisture from the roots and then giving it off by their leaves. Trees absorb sound. A buffer of trees and shrubs absorbs noise deflecting sound waves similar to the way they deflect wind. They serve to screen the view, and provide privacy, which is so essential in our crowded environment."

"Our trees have a dollar value and they also have a value that goes beyond dollars and cents. We are not yet advanced sufficiently in the full knowledge of the complicated symbiotic interdependence of trees with other living organisms, including ourselves in the environment, to fully appreciate the essential position of our trees."

"Landscape architect Garrett Eckbo summarized it when he said, "Trees are the best measure of the civilized landscape. A community in which many mature trees survive and more are planted regularly demonstrates a sense of time, history and continuity."

Joe

I'll save you the trip to Wikipedia:

Araucaria bidwillii, the bunya pine, is a large evergreen coniferous tree in the genus Araucaria, family Araucariaceae. It is native to south-east Queensland with two small disjunct populations in northern Queensland's World Heritage listed Wet Tropics, and many fine old specimens planted in New South Wales, and around the Perth, Western Australia, metropolitan area. It can grow up to 30–45 m.

The Bunya Pine is the last surviving species of the Section Bunya of the genus Araucaria. This section was diverse and widespread during the Mesozoic with some species having cone morphology similar to A. bidwillii, which appeared during the Jurassic. Fossils of Section Bunya are found in South America and Europe. The scientific name honours the botanist John Carne Bidwill, who sent the first specimens to Sir William Hooker in 1843

alittlebird

Here is the response I received from the park department for whatever it is worth.......not too much in my book.

"Thank you for your emails regarding your request to nominate and designate the Bunya Bunya tree as a significant protected tree at 1509 El Camino.

The Bunya Bunya tree already has protected tree status under the Urban Reforestation and Tree Protection Ordinance Chapter 11.06.

At this time, the permit for removal of six trees is on hold pending the Planning Commissions review of the building project at 1509 El Camino.

Our department will be reviewing this issue with the Planning Department and will have more information for you by the end of next week.

Thank you for your patience in this matter."

hillsider

So it's protected unless it's not.

pat giorni

alb and Hillsider,

The only reason to press for protected tree status now, despite its already acknowledged status, is because in granting the on-hold removal permit, all appeal rights have been vacated. Remember Tom the Tree? City was all set to chop it down without granting citizen appeal rights due process...that's why it came before Council as a public hearing and took alot of dithering before it was removed.

In essence, the same thing is happening in this case because there is no way the public can appeal the already issued permit if Council approves the condo project. Due to some complex developments in assessing this project, the Planning Commission may not have the authority to decide whether to deny the project which means it goes to Council as final arbiter WITHOUT any appeal once it makes the decision to approve. The community again loses the right to engage in due process.

What I'm trying to do by asking the community to request "redundant" protected status is force the City to open a public hearing on the issue BEFORE the project itself goes any further.

So, yes, "it's protected unless it's not." This Catch 22 may well become our City's "7-11" moment.

local motion

The house looks pretty cute, too. Has anyone been inside it to know if it is in good shape or not?

Joe

I haven't been in it so I don't know if it is nice or not, but Patricia Gray makes another point in her LTTE in the Daily Journal here:

Editor,

What do Burlingame residents want people to see when they enter our city from the north on El Camino Real? Trees? Or a huge condo tower in a residential area? Someone plans the demolition of two housing units that provide homes for low-income people in a grove of heritage trees on the west side of El Camino Real. This is at the entrance to our city, just where the beautiful trees edge the road. Years ago, we residents fought the removal of these trees to widen the highway. North and south of Burlingame, El Camino Real is lined with commercial buildings and visual clutter. Burlingame is different. We are the city of trees. Now this is threatened. The developers of 1509 El Camino Real want to cut down trees and build a condo tower to loom over the residents and increase the already serious neighborhood traffic and parking problems.

The developers are asking for a variance to do this. They claim this tower is in keeping with what is now lining El Camino Real in Burlingame, but that is not true of the northern part of the the city. This section of our city is a neighborhood of single-family homes of one or two stories. The huge tower does not fit in the neighborhood, nor does it honor our city's claim to be a city of trees. We need the trees to remain and for there to be some housing in our city for low-income residents.

If you live in Burlingame, please write a letter to the Planning Commission to express your opposition to the demolition of good housing and the removal of the grove of heritage trees. Ask them to deny approval of this proposal.

Patricia Gray

Burlingame

Anne

I was able to check out the Bunya Bunya tree this weekend. What a beautiful specimen! ANYONE in their right mind would do anything possible to protect this tree. Except, it seems, the City of Burlingame.

Jennifer, the quote you provided previously was so profound, and bears repeating:
"Trees are the best measure of the civilized landscape. A community in which many mature trees survive and more are planted regularly demonstrates a sense of time, history and continuity."

Burlingame Parks department, are you listening?

pat giorni

This is Bob Disco's response to letters sent requesting protected tree status.....
Thank you for your emails regarding your request to nominate and designate the Bunya Bunya tree as a significant protected tree at 1509 El Camino.
The Bunya Bunya tree already has protected tree status under the Urban Reforestation and Tree Protection Ordinance Chapter 11.06.

At this time, the permit for removal of six trees is on hold pending the Planning Commissions review of the building project at 1509 El Camino.
Our department will be reviewing this issue with the Planning Department and will have more information for you by the end of next week.

Thank you for your patience in this matter.

.......So keep those letters pouring in so that the discussion will take into account that this is a City-wide issue, not merely a small neighborhood concern.

pat giorni

Thank you to everyone who sent a letter because the on-hold tree removal permit was rescinded today, Feb. 21:

After further review with the City Attorney regarding the tree removal permit placed on hold in our office regarding the removal of 6 trees at 1509 El Camino, it has been determined that the original permit was issued in error and is void. Accordingly, the original permit will be rescinded and the applicant will be required to make reapplication. The above-mentioned trees are situated on an R-3 zoned parcel. My determination was based on the redevelopment of properties located in R-1 Zones as addressed in the Urban Reforestation Ordinance, Chapter 11.06 of the Burlingame Municipal Code. The applicant will be provided the opportunity to submit any documentation supporting the request for removal based on health and structure, and/or based on the proposed development of the property at the above address.

You will receive notification, pending reapplication for the removal of 6 trees at 1509 El Camino Real.

Sincerely,

Bob Disco
+++++++++++++++++++

hillsider

Bravo!

Anne

Pat, our thanks to you for leading the good fight!

pat giorni

Thanks, Hillsider and Anne, but I ain't singing yet.

If the developer re-applies and is granted a tree removal permit for B-B, then lots of our voices will be needed for the appeal.

Stay Tuned.

sue

Yes, you have been the driving force behind this one, Pat. Your efforts are appreciated. Let's all try to get out there and be heard when the time comes.

Russ

Viva la trees!! Viva la Pat!!

hillsider

Not B-B......Bebe

alittlebird

Yes, huge thanks to you, Pat. Looks like I will have a nesting place afterall.

Anon

Is the Adeline Market corner lot part of this development, or is it just the lot next door? Drove by it the other day, and only saw the scaffolding on the lot next door.

pat giorni

Adeline Market and empty lot (old gas station) are not involved. The scaffolding is only at the back of the 1509 ECR lot, so doesn't exactly tell "the story" unless you use your imagination.

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