Fairfax Trees on Pastori to be Removed, Replaced

Sidewalk construction would make eight trees bordering a Good Earth parking lot too unstable, according to an arborist.


The Fairfax Town Council unanimously approved the removal of eight trees on Pastori Avenue at a special meeting on Oct. 20.

The Liquidamber trees border the east side of Good Earth’s east parking lot and range in size from 32 inches to 48 inches. An arborist otwn officials hired determined the trees need to be removed because they wouldn’t be structurally sound after a new sidewalk is installed this fall.

The new sidewalk and retaining wall on Pastori Avenue, funded by the Federal Non-Motorized Transportation Pilot Program, are part of Fairfax officials’ efforts to improve pedestrian, bicycle and other non-motorized transportation, according to the resolution the council adopted with the decision to remove the trees. A copy of the resolution is attached at the right. 

Town officials selected B&M Construction to build the sidewalk and work began on Oct. 16. It was earlier, on Oct. 10, when the contractor, interim town manager and two engineers met to evaluate the trees, which would have major root damage done during the construction. 

Interim Town Manager Judy Anderson said she decided to call a council meeting to make a decision about the trees because she wasn’t comfortable making the call on her own (and the town doesn’t have a public works director). 

Ray Moritz, a consulting arborist, said the trees have structural defects that compromise their health, stability and longevity. He found the “existing tree conditions in conjunction with construction requirements would create a high risk of tree failure and a threat to people and property.”

Mortiz recommended the trees be removed and replaced with at least 15 24-inch box trees - which wouldn't create root damage to the town infrastructure. Mortiz and the landscape architect for the Fairfax-Anselm Plaza will determine which tree species are best for the site. 

“They are beautiful trees. We don’t take trees out lightly,” Anderson told Patch. 

The town council first held a special meeting on Oct. 16 to discuss the status of the trees. At that meeting, Good Earth representatives and the property owner expressed concerns about removing the trees, according to the tree removal resolution.

Councilmembers Ryan O’Neil and Vice Mayor John Reed did not attend the Oct. 20 meeting when the council approved the resolution.

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Arvid P. Sloan October 24, 2012 at 02:26 PM
What a waste of my tax dollars. Why cant they just leave it alone?
C Ross October 24, 2012 at 03:25 PM
"Thanks" once again to the Town Council for notifying me and my family about this special meeting across the street from our house. For the record, we would have objected. Yes, OBJECTED vigorously. I cannot believe that, when even the Good Earth, and the "property owners" (LRG Capital? Who?) objected they're moving forward to remove existing trees, build a sidewalk to nowhere, and generate wasted expense (probably not unlike the poorly planned Center Project that not only had to be redone, but seriously messed up the traffic, parking and bike safety to boot). Oh yeah, while telling me (repeatedly) that there's no money to fix the broken, hazardous existing sidewalks I (and others) have been requesting repair for quite some time. Way to go, Fairfax! Maybe it is time for all of us who have tripped, fallen and sustained injuries to taken some action, eh?
Life in the Bubble October 24, 2012 at 04:27 PM
As a frequent and regular pedestrian on this stretch, I strongly agree that there needs to be a new sidewalk. Sad to see any trees have to be removed, but improving pedestrian safety on busy corridors is a priority. The crunchy, lumpy, sloped asphalt that used to be there was such a pain, that many (most) pedestrians just walked in the street. Additionally, many cars speed down Pastori as they turn off SFD. Having walked that stretch hundreds of times, I do not believe a good sidewalk could be put in without removing the trees (at least one that could accommodate ADA requirements and families with strollers). This is a worthy project in that it will help people safely walk downtown instead of using their cars to drive a few blocks. Again, sad to see the trees go. In a few years, new trees will begin to mature.
Sierra Salin October 24, 2012 at 05:20 PM
The trees are beautiful, especially this time of year, and I will be sad to see them go. Unfortunately, the contractor for the sidewalk cut supporting roots which makes the trees unstable, into the future, especially in heavy winds. This could have been avoided by raising the sidewalk level, and the plans were made by former town manager Michael Rock. Unfortunate that they need to go, and a sidewalk there will be an improvement. I personally have feelings about falling trees...... By planting good sized new trees, it should be comparable in 6-8 years, and we will have a safer area for pedestrians. On another tangent, folks, please vote yes on Ca prop 37, and support labeling ove GMO foods. If you follow the money, Monsanto, etc, are spending $1 million per day to obfuscate the issue. Do you really believe Monsanto has anyone's best interests at heart?
Diana Knight October 24, 2012 at 06:03 PM
It's tragic that these trees will now be removed. With a little foresight this should have been predicted. Just because the $$ came from the feds does not mean it is without cost. If people need sidewalks at every roadside they should move to Rohnert Park. Fairfax's character and charm is being paved over.
Life in the Bubble October 24, 2012 at 06:32 PM
Unfortunately, charm and character won't protect you from a speeding Prius, BMW, or SUV cutting down Pastori at high speed for a chai at Good Earth. Unfortunately we've designed much of our infrastructure around driving everywhere with little thought to walking or riding bikes. Now that we've hit 37% obesity as a nation and gas is consistently over $4/gallon, we are playing an expensive game of "catch-up" to make our communities more liveable. Hindsight is 20/20. Preserving small town charm and character also means making communities more walkable/bikeable. It's stunning that people literally drive a few blocks rather than walk. It's stunning that people will drive a few blocks to Good Earth in an SUV for a few groceries, then fight for parking in a clogged parking lot.
Life in the Bubble October 24, 2012 at 06:44 PM
Diana- I'd also agree that losing these trees is tragic. But 20+ years ago we never thought there be a zillion fast moving cars and texting drivers on Pastori. Remember that Fairfax was largely a summer recreational community prior to the building of the GGB. Infrastructure planning is enormously complex. Hard to predict the future. If we only designed communities that were walk/bike friendly from the start, we'd all be better off.
Diana Knight October 24, 2012 at 07:40 PM
I think that section of Center was much friendlier to walking/riding a bike/driving and parking BEFORE it was chopped up into defined sections a few years ago. Just my opinion.
Jeffrey Gimzek October 24, 2012 at 10:16 PM
What a ridiculous, knee-jerk statement. Because is it UNSAFE for people to walk there. It is NOT a waste at all, it is the EXACT REASON taxes are collected: So that something that benefits all is paid for by all. We locals have been complaining about this street for several months since the Good Earth opened and traffic quadrupled while also cutting off our town access route through GE parking lot.
Jeffrey Gimzek October 24, 2012 at 10:24 PM
They're LANDSCAPE TREES people, not some old growth forest. Planted by a different contractor just a dozen or so years ago. I will never understand the enviro-left's fascination with trees that conflict with infrastructure, like those loons over in Berkeley. There is only ONE environmental issue now: Global Climate Change, which this improvement is addressing by making Fairfax more walkable. It's too bad about the trees, yes, but that spot was a tragedy waiting to happen. Who's child would you allow to be injured to preserve those trees?
Arvid P. Sloan October 24, 2012 at 11:15 PM
Why is Good Earth not unionized?.
Karen Laffey October 25, 2012 at 07:50 PM
As an involved citizen of Ross Valley, I'm curious where the profits from the lumber of the trees, cut by the same company that acts as the town arborist who decides if the trees should be cut or not, is deposited. I believe there is a Conflict of Interest here. Liquid Amber trees should be replaced with the same species paid for by the construction company that can't find a way to preserve the roots.
Life in the Bubble October 25, 2012 at 10:05 PM
Generally there is no profit from relatively young "yard trees." In fact, you have to pay to dispose of them. Mills won't accept trees like this, nor will they accept 98% of "yard trees" because they often have metal and other foreign matter in them which can damage milling equipment. Unless you have something really unusual (large black walnut, old growth redwood/cedar, exotic hardwoods, etc.), they just end up at the dump. The best recycled life they'll likely see is firewood in a couple years. These 8 trees might produce a few cords at best. $250-350/cord for soft wood is about right. That's after cutting it, loading it, hauling it, splitting it, letting it season for 2 years, and storing it for 2+ years, and sometimes delivery. The wood is pretty much worthless, it's the labor, trucking, and storage that's valuable. Sadly, that's the economic reality of domesticated trees.
Jeffrey Gimzek October 26, 2012 at 09:57 PM
a) Off Topic b) Are Good Earth employees enduring some horrid exploitation none of us have ever heard about? Unions are generally a response to working conditions and lack of accountability in Management.
Arvid P. Sloan October 26, 2012 at 11:52 PM
You tell me Jeffrey? Do the workers at Good Earth have health insurance and benefits like union workers at Untied or Andronico's? I dont have facts. But I am curious. My experience with so called right livelyhood new age type people is that they talk a good game but dont go out of their way to help the working class. We need unions. The weekend wasn't a gift from God. People fought hard and some lost their lives fighting for the working class.
Sierra Salin October 27, 2012 at 03:49 AM
Trees were removed today.
Ralph October 27, 2012 at 03:24 PM
While conflict of interest comments have merit, comments re tree species are curious. Liquid Amber is the single worst species of tree planted near street, sidewalk, asphalt, concrete. You can fill a folder of printed references indicating as much. Or you can look to the Parade parking area. For some reason, Fairfax tops the LA's there. This topping causes the trunks to bulge and the roots to easily breakup the soft concrete. Replacing the Liquid Amber w/ Liquid Amber would be a poor choice.


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