Once again there is a battle brewing between residents and the City of Santa Monica and ground zero is the area west of 7th Street and east of Ocean Avenue – specifically the parkways on Georgina and Marguerita Avenues and the beloved, historic Canary Palm trees that line these streets.
Here’s the situation:
- Neighbors were surprised to learn recently that the City, armed with a grant from the South Coast AQMD, would be planting Sycamore trees without any public input from area residents. It seems the Urban Forest Master Plan Task force may have jumped the gun on attempting to push this through.
- Residents of 18th street and 21st street also enjoy the majestic beauty of these palm trees and if Marguerita and Georgina Avenues lose this fight – their streets could likely be next.
- Neighbors have organized and appealed to the City to maintain the palm tree monoculture that now exists and the City is now at least willing to listen to the public concerns.
- This promises to be an interesting and passionate fight as the city has a reputation for not backing down and exerting their will on neighborhoods in matters such as these.
- It is important that the City and the task force hear from you. I will post contact info here next week for the various appropriate agencies, task forces and council people.
As a real estate agent selling homes in the North of Montana area for more than 20 years, I can honestly say that the existing palm trees are part of the draw to these famous streets. It is hard to imagine what the neighborhood would look like with a different species – regardless of what the city intended to plant alongside them.
I have no opinion as to the merits of the proposal – whether the air quality or green house carbon emissions from the existing palms will or will not negatively affect air quality, but it is generally felt that the Santa Monica air quality is good and I feel that this $198,000 grant might be better spent in another part of the city, where the trees are more sparse or identified as AQMD worst offenders.
Santa Monica has enjoyed a rich history and relationship with its trees and in fact there are several trees listed as Historically Significant and protected, as in that they can never be removed without expressed City approval.
What do you think of the city’s plan? Do you see any benefits of changing the current palm tree look or are you opposed to changing this signature look, which brings so much beauty to the neighborhood? Please share your ideas and leave your comments below.
Photo courtesy of Ajcreencia’s Flickr