City officials said Wednesday that they are investigating the unapproved removal of an oak tree at the site of a county flood control project under construction in Newbury Park.
They are investigating whether the county needed a permit to take down the oak at the debris basin project next to a sensitive wetland on Reino Road between Lynn Road and Kimber Drive.
"The issue really is whether we can require a permit of another government agency," Thousand Oaks City Atty. Mark Sellers said.
With or without the permit, Thousand Oaks Mayor Elois Zeanah said she was outraged that the county did not inform the city of its intentions.
"From the beginning, the flood control district has shown an incredible unwillingness to cooperate," Zeanah said. "I am putting this on next week's City Council agenda so we can begin to see what rights we have as a city."
A subcontractor on the project said Wednesday that the county supervised the removal of all growth and vegetation on the property.
"The clearing was all done under the strict direction of Ventura County flood control," contractor Larry Mosler said.
Officials from the Ventura County Flood Control District could not be reached for comment.
Mosler also said that, since news reports were aired saying the project may be draining the neighboring wetland, much of his equipment has been vandalized.
Over the weekend, he said, vandals broke windows and tore out instrument panels on the grading equipment being used on the project, causing about $1,000 in damage.
Mosler said he believed that the attack on his machinery stemmed from concerns that the project may be draining the wetland.
"People need to understand that we're just doing our job out there, and that equipment belongs to us, not the county," he said.
"If they have a complaint, they should take it up with the people who set the policies."