Tree cutting resumes on Elysian Heights housing site

Workers returned to cut down the remaining trees and clean up stumps and branches from the site of an Elysian Heights housing development after obtaining the go ahead from the city’s Department of Public Works.  A tree removal company had been ordered earlier this month to stop cutting down trees on a  three-acre parcel near Allesandro and El Moran Street where developer Planet Home Living   plans to  build 15 homes.   Last year, the developer was granted permission to chop down more than 40 native trees protected by city ordinance but only after it had purchased grading and building permits,  a condition neighbors had insisted on after watching other developers mow down trees for homes, condos and apartments that were never built.

After halting work on the site,  the Department of Public Works has decided to reinstate the developer’s tree-removal permit, said Julie Wong, spokeswoman for Councilman Eric Garcetti.

“Because the developer had already cut all of the native trees that were allowed under the permit, any additional native tree removal activity would be limited to removing felled trees and stumps — both of which could be safety hazards for people and animals,” said Wong in an email.  “The developer may remove non-native trees, which does not require a city permit.”

Did the city issue the tree removal permit in error? The Eastsider is checking with the Department of Public Works.


  1. I swear some days I think humans are nothing more than a relentless plague on this planet.

    • I envy you still being at the “some days” marker, Todd. It’s long been every day I feel that we are the virus for which there is no cure.

  2. Well, Garcetti sure was a big help on this issue, didn’t he? Would be nice to check his mayoral campaign committee finances to see how much was donated by anyone connected with this development.

  3. This makes me really sad. The park and its trees are magical — what a loss.

  4. Where are you, Eric Garcetti? Stop hiding behind your spokeswoman! This community will not forget.

  5. Plant some new native trees! Problem solved, next.

  6. I’m still not clear on this: did they actually get the grading and building permits that they were supposed to have in hand before they started cutting this time (the clean-up work)? Or did the city just give them a pass on the clean-up cutting because the damage was done after the cut down the trees illegally (when neighbors called the cops to try and stop it)?

    At the very least they should have been heavily fined for the initial cutting that was clearly in violation of the conditions of the tree removal permit, and I find it outrageous that the city would then go ahead and issue the building/grading permits to a developer that already knowingly violated the conditions first permit. I honestly think the project should not be allowed to go forward if the developer is willing to break the law so brazenly.

    The way I’m reading this story though, it sounds like no fine, and all permits are “go.” Unbelievable.

    What’s the point of even issuing permits–or of citizens putting pressure on our representatives to require meaningful conditions–if there is no enforcement. I’m getting sick of the part where we show up to meetings and provide well-reasoned input, only to be told–after the damage was done and irreversible–that the city never had any power to require anything in the first place. I’d rather not waste my time playing that game.

    The fix is in.

    I’ll never vote for Garcetti again, for any office.

  7. Bad move Garcetti!

  8. The tree removal company is Emerald Landscape Services, Inc. (Anaheim, Ca.)

  9. I live just around the corner from this site and I must admit – I don’t know what the big deal is…it’s 13 trees and a very small parcel of land. I’m just hoping the development is made up of upscale houses.

    There is plenty of park space all around our area – Elysian, Griffith, reservoir, new park on riverside. And frankly, I rarely see anybody on that piece of property anyway and I walk the adjoining street often.

    What I do see are the low lives who live on Allesandro up there selling drugs – the dude with the shaved head and the tattoos carved into his skull.

    I, for one, have no problem with this land being developed.

    • How do you know those people were dealing drugs? Trees provide you with the air that you breathe buddy! If you want upscale homes and no open space than please go to the westside! In EP we love our trees and LA needs all of it’s remaining green space!

  10. It’s well more than 13 trees – the developer’s own tree report submitted for the native tree permit had more than 40 native trees (and more than 60 trees total) slated for removal.

    This afternoon, while walking around my street (which directly faces the site), the consensus from my neighbors was a feeling of disgust at the waste of a terrific natural resource.

    Can’t wait till they start digging into the hillside. I bet they find out why it’s never been built.

  11. Seems like everyone that’s disgusted with the tree cutting could be better served if they plant a native tree on their property.

    50 people = 50 new trees in echo park.

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