“Once they are gone, they are gone,” said PB resident Morgan Myrmo, who claims Garnet Avenue business district trees are being lopping off by merchants “in an effort to increase their street presence as the branches block street frontage for them.”
On the south side of the 1400 block of Garnet, Myrmo pointed out, “half of the trees are either missing or butchered to give the stores better presence.”
Sara Berns, executive director of Discover PB, spoke with Myrmo about the Garnet Avenue tree trimming but said she couldn’t follow-up on his complaint because “he didn’t really have any information to validate that the business owners, and not the City, were the ones doing the trimming. We told him the City trims the trees and requires a permit, which we do not have to trim them ourselves.”
Added Berns, “We can’t do much as far as enforcement, we do not have that authority, but told [Myrmo] the proper channels to go about doing so.”
“The trees in question were not trimmed by City staff or contractors, and no permits were requested or issued for tree trimming,” said Anthony Santacroce, senior City public information officer, who added that “trimming, pruning and removing City trees is prohibited without prior notification and permit.”
Santacroce said residents and business owners can request maintenance for trees from the City’s Get it Done application. “They can also request a no-fee permit in order to trim themselves,” he said, adding, “The permit requires the submittal of a plan with the application as well as an evaluation by City staff.”
“This is a disgrace to the area costing locals and visitors the benefits of shade, beautiful large trees, and of course, human benefits such as oxygen, lower temps, etc.,” said Myrmo. “When the trees come down – we all lose. It makes me sick.”
On the City’s website sandiego.gov/trees/maintenance, it is noted city street trees are trimmed for public safety requirements and to clear rights-of-way. Residents or businesses can request a no-fee permit from the city for trimming, removal, planting or root pruning following inspection by City staff.
A tree will be trimmed by the City if: its condition, for safety, requires immediate action; to enhance visibility for motorists at traffic signals and related devices including trimming vegetation on private property encroaching on the public right-of-way; and to remove lower limbs and other growth from street trees to provide adequate clearance for vehicles, cyclists, pedestrians and construction activities.
If the City determines a tree must be removed in order to repair other infrastructure, concurrence of the abutting property owner is required. If no objection to the proposed removal is received, the tree will be removed by City contractors. This includes full stump grinding.
It can take up to 48 months from the determination date for the City to remove a tree and make any permanent concrete repairs. During this period, temporary asphalt ramping will be installed to alleviate any hazards in the public right-of-way.
Property owners may expedite the removal and repair process by agreeing to repair any associated sidewalk, or other damages from the street tree, if removal meets criteria.
Requests for tree removal must be made through the city’s Get It Done application.