COUNCILMEMBER O’FARRELL SEEKS TO STRENGTHEN CITYWIDE TREE TRIMMING POLICY FOR PRIVATE ENTITIES

CITY HALL -- Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell introduced a motion this week that seeks to evaluate the current protocols for inspection and enforcement of both permitted and unpermitted pruning and removal of trees on public rights of way across the City.

The motion [HERE] was introduced following the unpermitted trimming of nine trees over the holidays at Sunset Triangle Plaza in Silver Lake, next to Polka Dot Plaza at the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Griffith Park Boulevard. The City’s Department of Urban Forestry said three of the nine trees were severely damaged by a private entity and will need to be replaced.

“The City has tree pruning protocols as it relates to street trees, however, without proper inspection and enforcement, incidents like the one in Silver Lake continue to occur and lead to further deterioration of the City’s urban forest,” said Councilmember O’Farrell in the motion he introduced Tuesday during the regular Council meeting. The motion seeks to re-evaluate this process, and make improvements where necessary.

Following the tree trimming incident in Silver Lake, Councilmember O’Farrell directed staff to organize a meeting with the billboard company responsible for the tree trimming, a group of neighbors, and the City’s Division of Urban Forestry. During that meeting, the billboard company agreed to consider the replacement of  three of the damaged trees, donate public service announcement space on their billboard, and make other improvements at the plaza. The Councilmember is working to follow through with the City Attorney to determine what fines, if any, are applicable to this act of vandalism.

The Councilmember  also seeks to review funding and staffing levels needed for proper enforcement, as well as hear a report back on recommendations for monetary fines for illegal pruning and removal.

“It is imperative the City take every effort to ensure the protection and preservation of our urban forest in order to reap all the environmental and aesthetic benefits that trees provide,” said O’Farrell.

The motion and report backs will be heard in the Public Works and Gang Reduction Committee in the coming weeks.

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