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SFPUC stops work around heritage oak

'Granny' safe -- until June 6

A meeting with San Mateo County left the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) reviewing options for sparing a 65-foot-tall heritage oak tree known as "Granny."

The centuries-old tree sits in the middle of a site in unincorporated Menlo Park designated for a planned water pipeline meant to carry water from the Hetch Hetchy, part of a $4.6 billion seismic improvement project.

For now, the agency has ensconced the tree within an "avoidance area" at 827 15th Ave., and directed its contractor, Mountain Cascade, to stop work within that boundary.

Ed Harrington, SFPUC general manager, told the county in a letter Wednesday (May 18) that he personally promised the zone around the tree would, in fact, be avoided until June 6 at the earliest. That gives the agency enough time to review the arborist report and evaluate the cost of alternatives to removing the tree, he said.

SFPUC spokeswoman Maureen Barry described the meeting with the county as "very cordial." At issue was whether the agency would be subject to the county's heritage tree ordinance. The SFPUC is claiming immunity as a public agency.

The neighbors agreed to meet with agency representatives, but still want at least two weeks' notice before the tree is brought down, according to Mary Ann Mullen, who organized the campaign to save "Granny."

They continue to pursue a temporary restraining order, Mullen said.

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Comments

Like this comment
Posted by coooper
a resident of another community
on May 19, 2011 at 11:26 am

I'm so tired of weedy public lots, speeding cops, and public agencies that think they have "immunity" just because they are a branch of government. It's time to stop these abuses.


Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on May 19, 2011 at 6:09 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

They could kill all the weeds and everything else in their easement, buddy. Or just leave the gap in the line and let us suck dust when the quake comes. You want to keep the tree? Them buy up the surrounding land for a loop around the oak.


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