The 25 jacaranda trees lining Rose Drive and Bastanchury Road in Yorba Linda will get a chance to bloom again next spring.
The City Council spared the ax Tuesday in a 3-2 decision rescinding an earlier vote to have the trees removed. Residents clashed in a heated late-night debate, with those living near the trees demanding they be removed, and others pleading with council members to save them.
The council voted 3 to 1 last month to have the trees chopped down after neighbors complained that the jacarandas' sticky purple flowers and tiny leaves messed up their yards and clogged spa filters.
Councilman Henry W. Wedaa, who was absent at the initial vote, brought the matter up for reconsideration Tuesday. His motion to save the trees was supported by Councilmen Ken Ryan and Mark Schwing. Schwing, who reversed his earlier vote, said he changed his mind after having seen "new facts."
"I'm just concerned that if we cut these trees other residents might want to cut down trees they're not happy with," Schwing said. "I've walked by jacaranda trees near my house and their beauty is really overpowering."
Homeowners in the area said they are angered and disappointed by the council's decision to keep the jacarandas, after 24 out of 25 neighbors had signed a petition saying they want the trees gone.
"Our sidewalks are split and our fences are cracked," Marion Whisler said. "It's a problem for property owners. You don't know. You don't live there."
Others said they have endured damaged yards and patios to keep the trees they love.
"We should consider other ways to solve this, like pruning," Stan Glazer said. "Cutting down these trees will do nothing but set a poor precedent. Please save the jacarandas."
Council members John M. Gullixson and Barbara W. Kiley, who voted to chop them down, said they felt for the property owners who have to put up with damage and inconvenience.
"These are not the best-looking jacarandas," Kiley said. "They hardly have any flowers and they're skimpy."
City staff had recommended the trees not be removed because it would endanger other jacarandas in the city as well. The city could repair sidewalks or block walls in the area, Public Works Director Roy Stephenson said.
Axing them is not the answer, he said.
"We have thousands of these trees in our city, all in the same stage," Stephenson said. "Cutting them is just too precedent-setting."