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Tree removals eyed near Palo Alto golf course

City plans to ax trees, import soil in preparation for flood-control project

The renovation of Palo Alto's golf course isn't set to begin until next year, but local golfers should expect to see plenty of hard hats and soil piles on the Baylands course starting later this week.

The Palo Alto Municipal Golf Course is set to be modified to accommodate a regional flood-control project spearheaded by the San Francisquito Creek Joint Powers Authority, a project that includes reconstruction of levees and that aims to protect the vulnerable area between San Francisco Bay and U.S. Highway 101. One new levee would infringe on the golf course.

To pave the way for the creek project, the city plans to start chopping down trees later this week to make room for stockpiles of soil. Altogether, 90 trees will be removed from the course, according to the city. The imported soil would be used both for the levees and for the forthcoming renovation of the golf course, an ambitious project that will reconfigure every hole, reduce the turf area and emphasize the course's Baylands setting.

While the golf course project has yet to get the city's final approval, the flood-control project had already cleared all the hurdles and some limited work is set to begin this fall on work relating to power lines and sewer lines. The course will remain open to the public until next spring, though the impacts of the tree removals and soil importation will reduce its par score from 72 to 67.

The city announced that the tree removals will begin later this week. Soil importation will start next Monday and will take place between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays. The hauling will be routed down Embarcadero Road toward Geng Road. Importation will continue until the arrival of winter rains and resume again in the spring, according to the city's announcement.

Comments

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Posted by WeNeedTREES
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 13, 2013 at 1:05 pm

I hate having healthy trees cut down! Especially in our city..(Palo Alto) used to be a good thing having big trees for shade and beauty.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ninety trees
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 13, 2013 at 1:40 pm

Canopy agreed to the removal of 90 trees?
Canopy gets money from the city. I imagine that isn't irrelevant.


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Posted by Ninety trees
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 13, 2013 at 1:48 pm

oops I should have said NINE HUNDRED trees.

>the City's project to overhaul the entire golf course will require the removal of approximately 600 trees, which will be replaced with a smaller number of native trees, shrubs, and grasses more appropriate for the Baylands location. The balance of the mitigation for tree removals will take place at off-site locations that would benefit from an increased tree canopy. The City is partnering with nonprofit organizations including Canopy, Acterra and Magic on the specifics of the tree mitigation plan <mailto:Joe.Teresi@CityofPaloAlto.org>


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sarah
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 13, 2013 at 1:59 pm

If it's Palo Alto, it's cut down a tree!
Really, must all these trees come down all over the city?
California Avenue looks just awful-
San Antonio Road down toward 101 is a disaster
Haven't seen University Ave yet, but I'm sure it's
desolate.
And now the Golf Course trees.
Is there no stopping these people!


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Posted by sarah
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 13, 2013 at 2:04 pm

Seems everyone is confused on this.
is it 90 trees, 600 trees or 900 trees
to be removed. And, why must they use that particular area
to store this imported soil? Isn't there someplace where they can put this soil without having to cut the trees.
And the trees start getting 'chopped' this week-- and the plan is not
approved. Really?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Orion
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 13, 2013 at 3:22 pm

Ridiculous to be removing ANY healthy trees, no matter how few. Of course, the more trees removed, the more egregious this is!

How can those in charge be so irresponsible???


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Dave
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 13, 2013 at 3:27 pm

Just like people and animals, trees can not live forever. The removal and replacement at 5:1 or 6:1 ratio is needed for this project (read the material and not just react to the headlines). I for one love the improvement to San Antonio. Those dreaded pine trees were well past their prime and the damage to the street caused headaches for all of us drivers. Cal Ave is in its infant stage, but it will look great in a few years.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ninety trees
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 13, 2013 at 3:45 pm

No one said the trees are dying. The trees on California Avenue were not dying. Nobody lives forever but that's not a reason to kill trees while they are doing just fine.Read the quote from the city official above.
[Portion removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by DG
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 13, 2013 at 5:37 pm

The entire town seems to be torn up at the moment. I wish city officials would just go away and leave us alone. The less our city officials fiddle with the town, the less damage they will inflict to this once peaceful, charming town.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jim
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 13, 2013 at 5:39 pm

There are not 900 trees on the hole course.
The trees that are to be cut down are mostly in poor health - they were planted by the city 50 years ago when no attention was paid to the soil conditions. They are in poor health, are not natural to the area and some are falling down. In one heavy windstorm 30 trees fell....

Most of the trees that will eventually be cut down will be replaced by trees more suitable for the area. Additionally for some years now the city has been planting and successfully growing trees in the area around the duck pond and surrounding areas.

The long term result will be less turf - more natural areas and a better canopy with less water use. Additionally the better golf course will produce more play and thus more profits to the city which hopefully will be used mostly by Park and Rec to increase are quality of life.

Lastly - many years ago a developer came to Palo Alto. Many complained about the ticky tacky little boxes he built. In many cases
he had to cut down trees leading to more complaints. Then the people bought the houses and landscaped their plots and the city planted trees. And now the people gush about the wonderful houses and trees that he brought to Palo Alto to the point that if anybody touches what were once eyesores they threaten them with major trouble.

Yes I have been here for many years and one thing has never changed. The forward thinking people of Palo Alto cannot stand change. They would rather have plants that do not belong and trees that are in some cases downright dangerous etc rather then accept change for the ultimate betterment.


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Posted by WhoWillSaveTheTrees
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 13, 2013 at 9:17 pm

Rezoning Maybell means cutting down yet 100 more established trees, a historic orchard, the last remnant in Palo Alto (where the surrounding communities like Los Altos have all preserved historic orchards). It sits across from Juana Briones Park.

Some neighbors are looking into finding a way to preserve it. The Mayor has indicated a willingness of the City to allow the property to become a community orchard if a donor comes forward to purchase it. (The value of the orchard land is listed as $6.7 million in the financing documents. That's a net amount, not the cost of the property which includes 4 ranch houses. The ranch houses would actually make great corporate housing, esp if backing onto a historic orchard...)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Why segment?
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 14, 2013 at 9:23 am

Why are the two construction projects in the Baylands being segmented?

The City is having two projects going through separate environmental review and approval when they are in the same location and happening simultaneously. One project is for new levees to provide flood protection on San Francisquito Creek. The second project is the re-working of the golf course as a mitigation to the site changes caused by the levee construction.

The levee project is stalled because the US Fish and Wildlife Service takes issue with the levee's impact on two sensitive species. Because the City has segmenting review, they are proceeding with cutting down the trees and hauling in dirt from Stanford to pile on the golf course. If the levees are not built as per the current levee project design, the fill dirt and tree removal may turn out to have been for naught.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Well said
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 15, 2013 at 1:25 pm

DG said it all succinctly.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Lorax
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 17, 2013 at 9:59 pm

I speak for the trees. Bar the City Council from ever playing there and see if they make the same decisions.

Recall them all, please!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Lorax
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 18, 2013 at 7:56 am

Why are we even spending millions on a golf course?! We desperately need affordable housing, especially for seniors. Twenty percent of Palo Alto seniors live below the poverty line, and even after the Maybell development is built, there will be far more unmet need. We could build enough capacity at the Baylands to meet the need. The Baylands is a nice location, and residents could have a common van to take them places they need. It's closer to medical than Maybell, too.

The land at the Baylands is cheaper and for the cost of the golf course, the City could put in a very nice , environmentally sensitive affordable development with no neighbors to bring a referendum. It would even save hundreds of trees.

This golf course is a public giveaway to rich people, including the same developers ruining the rest of Palo Alto. Most Palo Altans are not going to get to use it anyway. City Council is building it for themselves. In most other places, private entities build the golf courses, and they should do that here. If the City needed to spend money on recreation spots, they should have saved the bowling alley for the kids.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Lorax
a resident of Green Acres
on Aug 18, 2013 at 8:15 am

Oh, and seniors out at the Baylands would be guarantee the area would be secure. They would be "eyes on the park" for the soccer fields.


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