A developer planning to build 15 homes on a wooded hillside on the northern edge of Elysian Heights will seek permission on Friday to cut down 43 Live Oak and Black Walnut trees on the three acre parcel. The home builder, Planet Home Living, would be required to plant more than 180 trees to replace the ones it cut down. The trees fall under the city’s protected tree ordinance that requires the Board of Public Works to approve the cutting down of native trees that meet certain criteria.
Many area residents have waged a years-long battle against the development of the hillside near Allesandro Street and Rosebud Avenue and to protect the trees. Earlier this year, Planet Home Living purchased the site from the original developer as it prepares to start construction on a project called Echo Park 15 @ Allesandro. Michael Marini with Planet Home Living said his firm has no choice but to cut down the trees:
Most of the required tree removals are a result of the removal and recompaction of the old unstable fill located at the upper pad, which has zero direct impact and is not actually necessary for the construction of the 15 homes below.
Marini said construction on the site won’t begun until financing is secured, most likely by the end of the year. The first homes, which are expected to be priced in the low to mid $600,000 range, are expected to be completed by summer of 2012, he said.
Diane Edwardson, a Silver Lake blogger who has opposed the project, said that many other trees not covered by the ordinance will also be leveled. “The site will be cleared of all except 5 trees per the original plan, approved over the appeal of neighbors who were supported by Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy in 2009. The plan identified 60 trees for removal,” Edwardson wrote on her blog today.
* Update on Friday, Sept. 9: Residents who attended the Public Works meeting said the commissioners postponed a decision until Sept. 28, perhaps a later date.