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Calabasas Can't See the Logic for the Trees

July 26, 2002

So cutting a few branches off an oak tree in Calabasas will get you a $10,000 fine, with a possible $40,000 if the tree doesn't survive ("Tree Boards Cut No Slack," July 22). Where's the logic here? Wouldn't a couple hundred dollars and a stern warning have been fair and decent to this couple who recently moved in from Michigan?

Kay Greeley, the city's arborist, says, "It's nothing personal. It's all about the oaks." Really? Nothing personal? Trees before people? Ruin an oak tree and we will ruin you? Shame, shame, shame.

Philip J. Hilow

Sunland

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Judging from the accompanying photograph, it appears that Carolyn Scharg's house is situated mere feet from the base of the offending oak. Had the developers, planners and tree board members at the time of construction had the foresight to anticipate such real-life factors as tree growth, then the problem of encroaching tree limbs, and their trimming by homeowners, would have been eliminated.

Steven Edwards

Sherman Oaks

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I also live in Calabasas and have for more than 30 years. I am extremely environmentally conscious, never litter, and I recycle every material possible. I believe it is the duty of every citizen to protect the resources we have.

Isn't everyday life hard enough, with enough rules and regulations, without the city of Calabasas coming down so hard on someone who just moved to the community from out of state? In this season of extreme fire hazards we are hearing much more about keeping excess brush away from our houses than about the obscure and relatively unknown law that prohibits homeowners from cutting any part of an oak tree without a permit. This woman and her husband were probably just trying to protect their very expensive investment--their new home. Perhaps Calabasas could find more dangerous lawbreakers to prosecute.

Carol Markowitz

Calabasas

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