Chopping trees would be a travesty

By From page A6 | November 08, 2013

As most people reading The Enterprise know, the plan for The Cannery project is to build a low to moderately dense mixed commercial/residential development on the edge of Davis. Those who are familiar with the site will have observed that there are many trees (382, according to those in the know) on the site.

According to plans, the vast majority of these will be cut down, as you can tell looking at the “illustrative land use plan” map on The Cannery project website. These mature trees will be “replaced” by planting young street and landscaping trees.

These mature trees currently provide roosting and nesting habitat for raptors, including the threatened Swainson’s hawk. They hold carbon fixed from our increasingly carbon-rich air. They are an aesthetic break in the landscape of fields and buildings. Finally, they could only add value to any houses or businesses built on site, as any large tree does.

Anyone who has watched birds around town knows that mature trees mean bird habitat, immature trees less than 20 feet tall or 30 years old mean none. Clearing them is about convenience, it’s not about retaining city values, or protecting the environment.

The current plan is to preserve trees “when feasible … during final design review, reflecting condition of tree, grading requirements, and site configuration.” Voluntary protection of the trees when the developer wants them out of the way is unlikely.

At its discretion, the City Council can make retention of all mature trees part of the project approval process. To permit the cutting of  more than 300 mature trees will be a travesty and an anti-environmental act by the council.

Fraser Shilling

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