Tue09232014

Before and after with 'horrific' results


PG&E is cutting down 50-year-old redwood trees in Los Altos because officials have decided that it will save them money. This is being done over the objections of the property owners and is significantly impacting their property values.

PG&E recently cut down three 40- to 50-year-old redwoods among other trees at 401 Los Altos Ave. The impact to the property is horrific. What was once a beautiful home in Los Altos – recently purchased by its new owner for $2.5 million, with mature redwoods in the front yard – now looks like any tract home in Los Angeles selling for a lot less. See the “after” photo above.

Why didn’t the Los Altos Tree Protection Ordinance protect these trees? The city claims PG&E is bigger than Los Altos and we cannot stop them.

Well, maybe PG&E should be forced to compensate the homeowners and the Los Altos community for the loss of these trees. If one of our

neighbors was compensated $25,000 each for three 12-year-old plum trees destroyed in an auto accident, then three mature redwood trees should cost PG&E $100,000 each.

As you can tell from the “after” picture, PG&E actually removed all of the trees in front of the house and replaced them with three small saplings, leaving the ugly tree stumps as reminders of their destruction.

If you have had PG&E cut down your trees without compensating you for the loss, maybe it is time to take some community action against the company. Please email the Los Altos City Council with your concerns (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ). Remember, trees reach their most productive stage of carbon storage at about 10 years of age, at which point they are estimated to absorb 48 pounds of carbon dioxide per year. At that rate, they release enough oxygen back into the atmosphere to support two human beings.

Larry J. Gardner is a Los Altos resident who lives near Adobe Creek.

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