Could not authenticate you.followers
A motion authored by Los Angeles City Councilmen Paul Koretz, 5th District, and Mike Bonin, 11th District, regarding the city’s protected tree ordinance was approved on Aug. 19 by the Los Angeles City Council.
The motion instructs the city’s Urban Forestry Division and Forest Officer Rachel Malarich to convene and consult with stakeholder groups to determine methods to preserve native tree cover and habitat areas, limit damage to trees during development, and potentially add more trees based on circumference and species notability to the protected list.
The motion originated from concerns raised by hillside community members in Bel Air, Laurel Canyon and Mandeville Canyon about how trees are being too easily removed by developers, even before development permit applications are submitted. Trees are not being protected during construction and building permits are routinely issued without the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety being aware of the presence of protected trees on affected properties, the councilmen said. A simple suggested fix could be to prioritize trees at the top of the building and safety checklist, rather than the bottom, where they are an afterthought, Koretz and Bonin added.
“The effort to strengthen our protected tree ordinance grew out of and was shaped by meetings I had with hillside community members who are more than concerned to see our protected trees falling prey to unscrupulous developers under saw blades and bulldozers, when they are supposed to be protected by city ordinance,” Koretz said. “The City Council file is filled with supportive letters from neighborhood councils as diverse as Bel Air-Beverly Crest to Rampart Village to Historic Highland Park, all emphasizing concern for how fast and easily the protected tree ordinance is currently being circumvented. It’s insanity. Trees are our first, best defense against the climate catastrophe which is still unfolding before our eyes and are essential habitat for the creatures with whom we share the region.”
“Protecting and expanding our urban forest is imperative. Trees fight climate change. Trees beautify our neighborhoods. Trees provide vital shade cover to people when they are outdoors,” Bonin added. “As we work to increase the number of trees in Los Angeles, we need to be far more aggressive in protecting existing trees. The City Council directed public works staff to develop a landmark trees program to designate and protect trees identified as landmark trees, and to work with environmentalists and community groups to strengthen and expand the applicability of our protected tree ordinance, which needs to be much tougher. I am proud to co-sponsor and support these actions and to work with dedicated environmentalists to grow and protect our urban canopy in Los Angeles.”
Some of the ecosystem benefits provided by trees include the absorption of carbon dioxide, the creation of canopy shade and through tree roots, water retention and soil protection. Limiting erosion helps prevent landslides. Trees also provide habitat for animals, insects and birds, and improve the livability of neighborhoods, the councilmen said.
The motion references the city’s recent efforts to better protect its wildlife areas, including preserving and enhancing biodiversity and protecting wildlife habitat connectivity. Koretz called the efforts complementary.
“Every step the city takes can either make things better for the creatures with which we share our environment, or make things worse,” Koretz said. “I’ve always been a strong proponent of leaving things in better shape than we found them.”
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
Leave a Reply