By Alan Hirsch
Preface: this is the first half of the legal appeal to stop the Sutter’s plan to “Save Money on Solar” by cutting more trees. For more background, click on the story the Vanguard broke last week and the Tree Davis letter objecting to Sutter’s plan.
To the Davis City Council:
We concerned members of the Community and/or Sutter Patients, argue the tree removal at Sutter Hospital violates both Davis culture and our local law in many ways. We ask the city council to reverse the plan to clear cutting of parking lot trees and send this back to the Tree Commission for these reasons:
- This project’s design, and the method by which it was “approved” by city staff, violates the Davis culture of public participation, dialogue, fact finding, and transparency. City Council should send it back to the Tree Commission, and we ask that Sutter, as a good citizen, willingly agree to this. We believe Sutter was misinformed about the correct legal and community process to follow.
- We ask that the Davis City Council find that trees provide benefit, particularly for health, that solar panels do not. We ask they reject the city staff finding that removal of trees in the parking lots at Sutter “enhances the character.” (staff memo of 7/14/2021)
- There are other treeless places on the Sutter campus to put solar panels that would reduce the number of mature trees cut. This should have been considered in the project’s design and the public hearing on 7-14.
- Find that Sutter trees are defined as Protected Trees under the city tree protection law. Muni code 37.01.010
- Tree Modification Permits from both 2019 and 2021 for removal of total of 205 protected trees are null and void as the Municipal code say a Modification Permit cannot be used for removal of Protected Trees, a removal permit must be used. 37.02.050a and 37.02.070
- Tree Commission charter states all tree removals must be reviewed by this Commission with no exception granted. We ask that Council find that the process used for removal at Sutter is a violation of the law on its face. (City Resolution 06-187 series 2006)
- The municipal code 37.04.010 states all parking lots must have 50% tree shade after 15 years. Law grants no exception granted for solar panels. Even though the Tree Commission and the Natural Resources Commission are discussing what future exceptions might be allowed, under the existing law only the city council, not planning staff, can approve an exception and a mitigation plan. We ask City Council to affirm the law as it stands until modified, and that the existing Sutter mitigation plan approved by city staff be labeled null and void.
- For the mitigation, legally required number of mature trees should be counted, not what remains. Sutter has killed or stunted and then failed to replace Tree required by Parking lot shade law in advance of their request for a removal permit. For example, in 7-14-21 staff document states there are 20 dead or stunted tree that Sutter will have not or have limited requirement to “mitigate” for cutting. We ask the city council to reject the mitigation plan.
- Mitigation of any removed trees, dead, missing or stunted trees should be discussed by the community, not just by Sutter in closed meetings with the city arborist. The mitigation should address the project’s impact on the community. The mitigation plan for the cutting of 142 tree in June of 2019 has not even been released as public document.
WHAT VANGUARD READERS CAN DO:
You can also sign the petition if you are a Sutter patient or a Davis resident here: http://chng.it/mft8fNRGmF If you want to be part of filing an injunction to stop Sutter from cutting the 142 tree permitted illegally in 2019 until this can be heard, contact Alan Hirsch firstname.lastname@example.org
Alan Hirsch is a Davis Resident and self-proclaimed as “the Davis Lorax”