799 Berkeley

Significant Trees In Danger At 799 Berkeley

This large property at the end of a flag lot was sold recently to a developer who plans to subdivide it into two parcels with rather large homes on them. The property is more than an acre, and there are redwoods, pines and more than 6 heritage oaks on the property, which was at one time owned by the Japanese Embassy. Several buildings, including a main home and guest cottages are slated for demolition.

A demolition permit was filed in October, but we noted there was no tree protection plan in place prior to the demolition. We sent a letter to the County and the demolition permit was temporarily pulled within a day or two of receiving the letter.

We met with county officials on November 5th at the Building & Planning Department to discuss this, the property at 671 Menlo Oaks and to learn why the department’s procedures are not working to insure protection for Heritage Oaks and other significant trees. We plan to follow up on this meeting.

Update April 8, 2016
After our complaint to the Building & Planning Department, he building plans for this parcel were changed to indicate that tree protection would be provided and two redwoods were spared removal.

However, in the past month, as demolition began, there was no tree protection provided. We met with the County’s Building & Planning department personnel to find out why. We were assured that tree protection would be put in place immediately. A week or so later, there was some tree protection in place, but it did not meet the requirements of County ordinances, so we filed a complaint today.

Update April 12, 2016
Several Heritage Oaks are missing from this property, and no permits were filed. We filed a complaint with the County’s Planning and Building Department and can only wonder why this happened. If you can help us, contact us.

Update May 6
Work has stopped on the property. The County issued a Stop Work Order today to the developer for removing trees illegally. Neighbors close to the property joined our efforts, and we presented photos and documentation to the Planning Department showing the damage done.

Update May 30
A tree health plan was developed by the developers arborist after our tour of the property (with the developer’s arborist and landscaper). Discussions were about replacement trees, health evaluations of remaining Heritage Oaks and other trees on the property, and efforts by the County to monitor the construction and landscaping plans.

Update July
Construction begins again, and monthly arborist reports will be provided the County and MOTA.

Update December 1
We continue to receive monthly reports and to monitor this property as construction continues. Monthly arborist reports give us information about each tree’s health and the tree protection erected around remaining Heritage and Significant trees.