News Release News Release The City of Palo Alto
Communications Department
250 Hamilton Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94301


PRESS RELEASE 11/15/2012
Subject :

City, Property Owner and Tenant to Consider Alternatives to Potential Tree Removal
Contact : Curtis Williams, Director of Planning and Community Environment    650-329-2321
Palo Alto, CA – Today the City of Palo Alto rescinded a permit issued for the removal of two mature redwood trees on private property in the California Avenue area in order to reach out to the property owner, California Avenue merchants and the community to explore whether other alternatives are viable. The two redwood trees, located at 2401 El Camino Real (Citibank), will not be removed at this time.

The property owner and Citibank followed City procedures and applied for a tree removal permit to allow them to prevent possible damage to the building and sidewalk, and to water and gas service lines. The City issued the permit after verifying that conditions met the criteria of the Palo Alto tree ordinance (PAMC 8.10). The trees and their roots had caused cracks in the building foundation and walls, had broken a water line, were lifting the public sidewalk, and were likely to exacerbate those impacts as they continued to grow. As a result, the trees were to be replaced as part of an overall landscaping and parking reconfiguration for the site.

Last week, City staff raised concerns with City management about the potential tree removal and began an internal discussion about what other options could be considered. As soon as the 14-day removal notices were posted, the community also raised its concerns.

"The property owner applied for the tree removal permit and the City granted it as the onsite conditions appeared to comply with our tree removal regulations," said Mike Sartor, Director of Public Works. “However, because these two trees are located within the California Avenue area and there is a heightened level of sensitivity to tree removals, we are taking a “time-out” to work with the property own and tenant to ensure that a variety of options are considered and the community is fully engaged.”

The tenant and the project contractor have been notified that the tree removal permit has been rescinded and that a meeting will be scheduled as soon as possible to explore the options.

“We're interested in thinking more creatively about this situation,” said James Keene, City Manager. “We want the property owner to be able to make planned improvements to the landscaping and to protect their buildings and utilities, while also addressing the community’s value to protect redwood trees and concerns about the California Avenue streetscape canopy. I am confident we can reach a mutually acceptable solution once we explore this issue further.”

For more information about the City of Palo Alto’s tree preservation and management regulations, visit