Save Sutter Davis Trees - End The Tree Removal Loophole

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Alan Hirsch started this petition to Mayor Partida and council members Davis City Council and

1) Save Sutter Trees: There is a plan underway to clear-cut 205 mature trees in the main parking lot of Sutter Hospital in West Davis and erect steel columns for solar panels.  (see diagram in Davis Vanguard article) This approach ignores the benefits of trees in mitigating climate change. There are five other place to put the solar panels to save the trees. For example. Sutter own 30 acre behind the hospital it could put I a solar farm. Why is this never discussed? Why not public notice? Why did this not go before tree commission?


Only Davis City Council can stop this and ask why city staff acted hastily to permit the cutting of this small forest of trees with inadequate notice to the general public or the Tree Commission. 

The defense by staff and some city council that “it was legal”, the legal minimum. IT is no excuse and council should be embarassed to use it: History show most damage to the environment has been done was done legally.

2) Close the Tree Removal Loophole for Developers & Landlords. Davis city staff allows removal of protected trees at commercial sites with no oversight. Contrast that with city process if a homeowner wants to remove a  protected street tree in their front yard.  Homeowner is required to post public notice in front yard and subsequently attend a hearing before the Tree Commission. WHY IS  IT OK for city staff to ok removal of a single tree on a commercial site, much less a forest of legal protected tree like at Sutter without any review?  Unlike the homeowner, developers voluntarily agree to plant and maintain and/or preserve trees as a legally enforceable initial condition of development. But then it appears that this condition can be quietly waived by city staff with little or no review or public notice. 

3. End Commercial & Apartment Complex Tree Abuse: Landlords can kill legally protected trees through neglect with no consequences. This is an effective means of evading the law.  Change the law to fix this situation which the city has neglected for decade-s- with particular impact to low income dwellers of apartments.



-Dear Mayor Gloria Partida and City Council:


Please Save Sutter Trees - there are many other places to put solar panels at Sutter Hospital without cutting down 205 mature trees in the main parking lot.  That the city staff incorrectly issued Mitigation Permits instead of Removal Permits gives you ground to reverse staff unnoticed on the 2019 decision to remove phase 1 cutting of the first 143 trees. These permits are invalid on their face. 

The defense by staff and some city council that “it was legal” is at best weak argument.  History show most damage to the environment was done legally.

Ø  Please change the  City Process defined by previous council to block future action by staff that allows the to approve change that do environmental damage with no transparency. 

Ø  Please enforce Council resolution 10-053 pertaining to the role of Commissions. Why when a homeowner wishes to remove a protected tree must she  post a notice in the front yard and go before a public hearing but a corporation like Sutter gets a pass without notice or public hearing when they request hundreds of trees to be removed? 

Ø  Please have staff enforce city laws requiring developer/landlord to properly maintain trees for their entire life per city code section 37.04.030 rather than allowing such trees to be neglected. Sutter should be fined for failure to comply with this law as some of their parking lot trees were negligently allowed to die or be stunted over the last 30 years. Sutter must not be rewarded for such reckless behavior. By not counting trees that were previously killed or stunted in the determination of mitigation fees for cutting, the City has incentivized tree neglect.

Ø  Please determine how city management staff, though possibly  legal under the current law,  thought it was appropriate to approve cutting of this small forest of trees with no notice to Tree Commission or Tree Davis or other interested parties in 2019 and 2021.  It damages the public's trust in our city government when they proceed in such a peremptory and non-transparent fashion.


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