When Ann Collard and her husband hired a private contractor in August to trim the trees around their home, they could not have imagined the bill would balloon to nearly $350,000.That'll teach them to live in California.
Costs soared when a city urban forester cited the Collards for illegally pruning 13 trees — including five that are reportedly on city-owned land — without a permit. And under the city’s new Indigenous Tree Ordinance, the fine was equal to twice the value of the damaged trees.
“We trimmed our trees and now we can lose our house?” Ann Collard asked.
The fine has the attention of the City Council, which is awaiting a report on the matter before deciding how to address the potential unintended consequences of an ordinance that was adopted in March mainly to discourage property owners from razing protected trees to clear the way for development.
“We don’t know yet, the whole story,” Councilman Dave Weaver said. “It’s just premature.”
The Collards decided to prune the trees after receiving a June fire danger abatement order from the Glendale Fire Department, reminding homeowners of the necessary 5-foot vertical clearance between structures and vegetation, Ann Collard said.
A private tree-trimming contractor based in Orange County hired to prune the canopy back said no permits were needed, she said, but an urban forester ordered the pruning stopped on the third day.
Ann Collard said she was aware of a tree ordinance, but she did not know it prohibited any sort of pruning, especially with a fire danger abatement order in hand. [...]
Crossposted on Soccer Dad