City will cut and plant new trees

Camille McCormack

Gilroy officials responded to winning a suit against a resident who wanted the city to stop cutting 235 trees until it gets a second assessment of whether they truly need to be cut.
The city said it will continue to cut the trees, but will plant 475 new ones over five years. 
“With this denial of the preliminary injunction, the City plans to continue removal of the trees that are currently posing a safety hazard to our residents or putting the health of the urban forest at risk,” it said in a news release. “We anticipate this process to continue through the fall, in the hopes of completion before the winter rains begin.
“The good news is that with recent budget approvals, the City has plans to replant 95 trees each year for the next 5 years, effectively planting 475 trees and more than replacing the trees removed.”
Resident Camille McCormack invested $15,000 of her own money to fund a suit asking the city to stop cutting the trees. She hired an arborist, Moki Smith, to assess the trees the city was planning to fell and he found that only one was truly dead. The others could be revived with watering, fertilizer and trimming, he said.
The city has contracted with a firm called West Coast Arborists to assess and maintain the city’s 18,000 trees. McCormack argued that the same firm that would make money cutting them down shouldn’t be the one assessing them. 
West Coast Arborists, based in Anaheim with a San Jose office, has a $250,000 annual contract to maintain trees and was awarded another $258,000 for the emergency removal of 235 trees it assessed as a safety threat.

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