A major tree-removal project in California Avenue's business district caught both City Manager James Keene and the City Council by surprise, officials have acknowledged.
Keene said he is unhappy with how the project was handled in terms of how it was communicated to people, while council members want to know how the plan was developed and why they weren't informed in advance.
The plan emerged from a beautification program for the business district, between El Camino Real and the Caltrain tracks, that had been approved by the city earlier -- but neither Keene nor council members apparently realized that it would entail a sweeping clearing of all 50 holly oaks along the street.
The city plans to replace the trees with red maples about 10 feet tall, but reactions along the street are mixed, with some calling the action an uglification plan instead of a beautification plan.
Keene said in one news report that he was unhappy with how the communication was handled.
City Councilman Larry Klein told the Weekly that council members were not told of the plan to remove all trees. Other council members have expressed displeasure at not being notified of the implications of the beautification plan.
A vigorous debate has emerged on the Town Square forum of the Weekly's community website, www.PaloAltoOnline.com.