Town Square

Post a New Topic

Palo Alto refines plan to replace Baylands trees

Original post made on Aug 28, 2013

As Palo Alto officials prepare to chop down more than 500 trees at the city's golf course and to plant hundreds of other trees at various locations, they are taking a cue from the medical community and adopting as their central tenet "First, do no harm."

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, August 28, 2013, 9:57 AM

Comments (30)

Posted by need shade, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 28, 2013 at 11:13 am

I DO NOT Want the Trees we have CUT DOWN!!!!!

Posted by Joe Giraffe, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 28, 2013 at 11:19 am

The story says:
Now, the City Council's goal is to make the facility
profitable by emphasizing its Baylands setting and giving
it what the city calls a "Wow!" factor.

The biggest Wow factor currently at the golf course is the amount of goose droppings golfers have to wade thru. Is the redesign going to solve this problem?

Posted by concerned, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 28, 2013 at 11:21 am

First do no harm???
That is a crazy statement when the city is killing 500 trees. It is like someone saying oh it is ok to kill 500 people because we are going to make 500 new babies. And just because the city wants to remodel the golf course? The City would never let a private property do anything close to this. Why does the City think they can do what they would not allow their citizens to do?

Posted by not convinced, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Aug 28, 2013 at 11:47 am

What a saw happy city we now have. Unbelievable how they love to cut down trees. What ever happened to good stewardship of our natural assets? Enough already!

Posted by not convinced, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Aug 28, 2013 at 11:50 am

At this point in this tree cutting frenzy I have to wonder if there is corruption somewhere. Are our city officials bought by contractors that cut trees, and then by those that plant trees? It sure almost looks like it.

How can anyone claim with a straight face that cutting a stately mature tree is no big deal as long as you plant a new tree (that will take what, oh, 20 to 30 years to become a fully grown tree, if not more).

This is all very disheatening.

Posted by Native Californian, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 28, 2013 at 11:56 am

None of your articles specify the tree species proposed for removal. We need to restore native trees and woodlands wherever we can but people shouldn't worry about removal of non-natives which may or may not be appropriate to the setting unless they are specimen size.

Posted by Sarah, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 28, 2013 at 12:55 pm

OK, so we're going to cut down the trees and then try to plant new trees close to the place where the tree was before it was cut down.
Does that make sense? What is the reason we are cutting down these trees? So what if they aren't native, they are there and have been there probably for a long time. LEAVE THE EXISTING TREES ALONE!
We don't need to cut 500 trees down. I say let's replace these city employees who evidently were born with a saw in their hands and
replace them with more reasonable people.

Posted by vizier, a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 28, 2013 at 1:41 pm

Anybody know what is going on with the kinda-recently (2 years) opened-up section of Byxbee? For a while, it looked like they were trying to plant some kind of bushes or flowers or whatever, and then they closed off the area and essentially turned it into a dirt farm again.

Anybody have any knowledge of what the grand plan for this area is?

Posted by pbisis, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 28, 2013 at 2:08 pm

Please redesign the new golf course AROUND the existing mature trees. The environmental expense is too great to justify the removal of these trees .

Posted by Midtown, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 28, 2013 at 2:34 pm

The new golf coarse plan is a scheme cooked up to make soccer fields for kids and displace seniors who want to play golf. Trees don't fit into soccer fields. And the only Wow factor we are going to see is the greens fees to pay for the soccer fields. No mater how much dirt you push around it is still just a land filled in swamp. Before it was land filled no trees grew here. Palo Alto has done its part to fill the bay.

Posted by Native PAer, a resident of Professorville
on Aug 28, 2013 at 3:06 pm

[Post removed.]

Posted by Not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on Aug 28, 2013 at 3:15 pm

[Post removed due to reference to a deleted comment.]

Posted by Henry, a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 28, 2013 at 5:00 pm

It's not even certain that the planned levees will be built as proposed. The levee project has not yet been approved or fully funded. So, Palo Alto starts by cutting down 500 trees and hauling in fill dirt from the big holes Stanford is digging.

Once the trees are clear cut and dirt is piled in the Baylands, the city will be in a poor negotiating position with Arillaga. He wants to build high rise office towers at 27 University Ave and buy part of Foothill Park in exchange for paying for the new soccer fields.

Is our Council once again blinded by their hubris or is this really their plan so they can later claim they have no choices and Arillaga is a hero.

Posted by Jim, a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 28, 2013 at 5:26 pm

[Post removed.]

Posted by Not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on Aug 28, 2013 at 5:29 pm

[Post removed due to removal of referenced comment.]

Posted by Henry, a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 28, 2013 at 6:18 pm

@ Not an issue - Do you really believe that the lawyers on council and the architects on ARB and PTC don't get rewarded for their loyaly with lucrative business deals from developers and their investors? They just make sure the timing doesn't require public disclosure or they run it through corporate entities which "launder" the transactions. The lawyers get to claim attorney client privilege and the privately held corporations don't disclose investors. Maybe it's all legal but it's surely not representing the public's best interest!

Posted by Not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on Aug 28, 2013 at 6:26 pm

My questions were regarding the allegations of kickbacks and corruption. If you want to make them, then provide proof. If you are saying that the people get rewarded with lucrative business deals, then name some names. Whom exactly are you referring to?

Posted by HUTCH 7.62, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 28, 2013 at 8:06 pm

Funny how the city gets what it wants when it wants, but when I the taxpayer wants the city to trim or remove a huge dying limb on their tree. they won't do a thing. I think it's high time for a taxpayer revolt.

Posted by jim, a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 28, 2013 at 8:32 pm

Once again poorly written articles lead the non thinkers astray. Have you ever been to the baylands. There are NO TREES there. The golf course was built there in 1956 and the trees were planted by the city....The most recent photo of the golf course area prior to the golf course that staff can find is from 1948. It shows nothing but a near desert. No grass- no trees - nothing..... The trees that are there are only those that remain after 60 years of weather. One weekend 25 trees blew down.

If the city had not insisted on soccer fields more trees would have been saved. Even so the total tree count when the project is finished will be nearly the same as it is now except that the new trees will better tolerate the soil conditions. Staff and the golf advisory have spent much time trying to produce a better more playable more environmentally friendly place.

But we have to listen to the people make stupid accusations about the staff and the planners. There is a word that many people say - COMPROMISE is the word. Everybody says COMPROMISE but most cannot seem to listen to all sides then reach an accomodation. They simply make their accusations and bleat about their wants and listen not to anybody else's opinion or idea or thought.

Yes it is hoped that the golf course will do better financially and it is my personal hope that the profits will be used by park and rec to make our city nicer. Maybe the profits can be iused to plant more trees or simply make our parks nicer.

Posted by resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 28, 2013 at 9:16 pm

Any insight you can provide on the Baylands plans is appreciated.
But people who react to the story are not "non thinkers". They
are thoughtful people who have been conditioned to not trust the
staff and City Council to do anything right. Every decision is
justifiably met with skepticsm.

Posted by jim, a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 28, 2013 at 9:38 pm

Hi Resident.

A read of the comments prior to mine did not indicate much carefull thought. Re Read them then show me some real thought and understanding. I saw mostly paranoia and ridiculous accusations and little thought. Over the years I have dealt with many levels of Palo Alto workers and all of them truly tried to keep what they considered the best interests of the citizens in mind. The problems arise when they make a decision after listening to everybody and trying to find the necessary compromises to make some project work. As soon as the decision is made all hell breaks loose and the opposing side always makes their accusations and proceed as though someone is lying or in cahoots with some evil entity.

Read the comments again.

Posted by resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 28, 2013 at 10:01 pm

I believe you are sincere in your comments and beliefs, although
I might be missing the "sarcasm" in your remarks, but the facts/results just do not support what you are saying. I can tell you absolutely you are 100% wrong. The residents are frustrated, angry, disenfranchised and any comments they make must be viewed in that light.

Posted by Henry, a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 28, 2013 at 10:44 pm

@ Not an issue - Let's turn your question on it's head. Can you provide financial documents for all transactions that financially benefit City Council Members to document that they, their family members and business entities derive no financial benefit from applicants and their business associates for their entire term of office and a few years afterwards? This is a standard that far exceeds the legal requirements for disclosure, so no you can't.

The inability to provide this documentation means that you can't prove that there isn't political corruption.

Posted by Doesnt pass the smell test, a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 28, 2013 at 10:44 pm

>then provide proof. If you are saying that the people get rewarded with lucrative business deals, then name some names. Whom exactly are you referring to?<<
There are more deals than can be written about here, but a recent Planning Commissioner quit to go to work for Arillaga. And an ARB Commissioner quit to go to work in the commissioner's architectural firm.
This is just the visible tip of a large iceberg.
The city's poll of its workers showed that a substantial number of workers would be uncomfortable reporting unethical behavior of their managers.
Hacking down trees? This project doesn't pass the smell test.

Posted by I speak for the trees, a resident of Green Acres
on Aug 28, 2013 at 11:10 pm

How about letting neighbors at the Maybell orchard save the 100 established trees there and turn it into a community orchard, the last patch of our orchard heritage (which other communities around us have all done), and use the $7.3 million the City is spending there to instead try to buy the Terman Apartments nearby which is already losing its affordable housing status after only 20 or 25 years and converting to market rate?

Why bulldoze 4 perfectly good ranch houses and 100 established trees when the orchard is right across from an existing park and surrounded by 4 nearby schools that could benefit from such an asset?

(Note: the ranch houses have to be bulldozed rather than renovated because the City makes in lieu fees from the densely packed market-rate homes they are trying to rezone for, which they don't get if the ranch houses or single-family homes more consistent with the neighborhood go there. The in lieu fees are written into the ordinance, and thus there is no option to do anything else.... Vote against Measure D!)

Posted by not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on Aug 29, 2013 at 6:22 am

Henry, the only thing you are turning on its head is logic. Your comment makes no sense whatsoever. You are claiming corruption. It is on you to provide evidence. Name,names if you have the proof.

Posted by DC, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 29, 2013 at 11:37 am

Bravo, Jim.

WAY too much hiding in anonymity, hurtling words unbacked by proof. Hope they know that "venting" doesn't ease tension, it feeds it. DO something rather than sitting back and complaining. You'll feel so much better. And perhaps act to the benefit of all.

I'm glad to know the city is taking the time to research trees that will be well-adapted to their new home.

Posted by history, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 29, 2013 at 12:19 pm

Note that before the golf course there were no trees on that land and that the trees were planted for the golf course (as evidenced by these photos: Web Link and Web Link . Other than relatively rare groves of oaks (as in Oakland), trees are not part of the baylands native habitat. Should we add these non-natives back at Byxbee, which now is elevated above the natural grade and is not a native habitat?

Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 29, 2013 at 5:25 pm

Neither of those photo links prove anything about the number of trees in the Baylands before the Golf Course history. One is of the Yacht Harbor and the other one is "after" the Golf Course was established.

A good question would be what is the Baylands' natural habitat?

Posted by Name the Names, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 30, 2013 at 5:11 pm

[Post removed.]

If you were a member and logged in you could track comments from this story.

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

On Tour at Selective Schools: Chapman, La Verne, Redlands, Whittier
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 1 comment | 1,901 views

The dress code
By Jessica T | 17 comments | 1,786 views

Two Days to Save This Dog?
By Cathy Kirkman | 15 comments | 1,185 views

. . . People will never forget how you made them feel.
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,164 views

It Depends... Disguising Real Characters in Fiction
By Nick Taylor | 0 comments | 388 views