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January 13, 2010

Why? Who is removing the tree grove from Alma Park?


A Crazy, nature-loving reader was alarmed to spot this sight today as he was passing Alma Park, the two-acre city park nestled amid the apartments of Alpine Road and which is accessible from California Boulevard at Olympic Boulevard. He saw what he described as a "whole grove of nice-sized redwoods" being removed at the entrance of Alma Park.


I've e-mailed some folks in the city to see if they know what was going on in Alma Park Wednesday.

Alma Park is the city's 19th park and was developed for the city by Steve Seely, who built the Ivy Hill apartments.

This reader, who I know to be savvy about how things work in public agencies, pointed me to the page on the city's website that outlines the criteria that one might obtain a permit to remove trees.

"Seems like tree removal permits are far too easy to get," my reader says.

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

They are going to build a new building at the shopping center that contains KFC. Some buildings in the shopping center will be demolished. The new building will contain a bank. KFC will stay.

Bob Brittain said...

Hi Soccer Mom,

I'm serving on the Park, Recreation and Open Space Commission (PROS) for another month, completing six years and I am "terming out". So, I'm happy to give some background.

This building project went through an extensive review process including several City commissions and City Council. Those are not redwood trees being removed and they are not within Alma Park.

Anon 7:33's comments are correct; the KFC and Baja Fresh are not affected by this project.

As a result of the project, the new entrance to Alma Park will be wider, affording a view of the interior of the park, and there will be more native trees replacing the non-native trees that you saw being removed. Because the park entrance will be more obvious, people will realize more easily that it actually exists. The views of Mt. Diablo from Alma Park will also be enhanced.

The project was revised significantly based upon public and commission input and I believe that the project was improved significantly by this public process. People living in the neighborhood made some excellent suggestions that were incorporated in the final plan.

Bob

AKA Soccer Mom said...

Dear Bob,
Thanks for that background and information.

Anonymous said...

SM -

Rather than getting hysterical about something happening on City property and quickly writing about it, next time just pick up the phone and call city hall. Old fashioned, I know, but most of the time it is still the fastest way to get the true facts and complete information.

Sensational journalism is not what we need in this town.

AKA Soccer Mom said...

7:03 a.m.
Point taken.

AKA Soccer Mom said...

On the other hand...
I received the email question and photos, but late in the day. I did e-mail a contact at city hall. Probably this person had already left for the day. Others would have seen this going on Wednesday and wondered.

This particular reader I know is not given to alarmism, and he's very experienced in how things work in the civic arena. So, if he wondered, and wanted to know, then I think it's a question worth persuing.

I put out the question in the blog, and Bob Brittain very kindly supplied the answer. So, now anyone who saw this event going on has the answer...

Now, I could have waited until this morning to hear from city hall. That would be the traditional way of doing things. And maybe that's a better way.

What do readers think?

Anonymous said...

I think you jumped the gun a bit.

Waiting until this morning to hear back from your source in City Hall would have been the prudent thing to do. After all, it is not like you could have saved the trees that had already been removed.

If Mr. Brittain had not seen your post last night and provided his information, many of your readers could have gotten an improper impression that something untoward was going on.

This is a good example of how damaging gossip gets started.

A small boo boo on your part but keep up the good work of reporting local news and happenings.

Bob Brittain said...

SM,
No big deal to me. The title of your blog is "Crazy in Suburbia", not "Boring in Suburbia". So, a little excitement once in awhile is to be expected.
Bob

Anonymous said...

Ah yes, Mr. Brittain loves excitement.

Would an article full of suppositions about something happening at the library be exciting for you too Bob? Doubtful.

Rules of good journalism require that full research be done before the subject is presented.

Mom, just because you like the person who alerted you to this action at Alma Park is no reason to stir the pot before you know what is cooking.

Anonymous said...

Does Bob know the height and square footage of the building? Will it be within the guidelines of the General Plan? Will the parking continue to be in the existing parking lot? What kind of trees were they?

Anonymous said...

The fact that you have over 10 comments regarding tree removal is a compliment to your writing!

Bob Brittain said...

Hi Soccer Mom,

I am responding to the anonymous questions posted at 12:28pm on Jan 14.

All of the information the questioner wants is in the minutes of the various PROS Commission, Planning Commission, Design Review Commission and City Council meetings from last March - June and they are all available on the City's website.

PROS Commission: see the April & May, 2009 meeting minutes

Design Review Commission: see the March 18, 2009 meeting minutes

Planning Commission: see the May 28, 2009 minutes

City Council: see the minutes and watch the vieo of the June 16, 2009meeting. Note that all relevant documentation in present as attachments to the Minutes of this meeting. This includes detailed site diagrams, identification of species of new trees, how the parking will be revised, etc. It would be best to use these detailed documents to find answers to the current questions and those that might follow.

To find all of this information, go to the Walnut Creek City website at http://www.walnut-creek.org and then look under the City Government menu at the top of the home page.

I think the City does an excellent job of making information like this readily available on their website.

LeftCoast said...

Hey Anon or Anon's that are on Soccer Mom for being "alarmist" and "jumping the gun" Here's a suggestion for you--Go Get A LIFE. She does this for fun because she has a passion for it; does not represent herself as a professional journalist(even if that is her background);and is not publshing under the moniker of the CCTimes. So this being her space she can post what she wants. Cut her some slack if she doesn't meet your jounalistic standards. Better yet move on and start your own blog where you fact check everything before you write.

Anonymous said...

Drove by and saw the cut-down trees. Some looked like redwoods to me...

Anonymous said...

I think this was also covered in the Times at the time.

Bob Brittain said...

Soccer Mom,

This is a reply to the comment by Anon 3:50pm on Jan 14, 2010.

If you go to the information source I cited on the City website in my last post, you will find that the trees removed were Canary Island Pines. They are a non-native species used here as an ornamental.

Bob

Anonymous said...

Hey Bob,

Thanks for the info on the tree species, so why not tell everyone the square footage and height of the building too? Wouldn't it have been a lot easier than going thru all those meeting dates? Besides, some of us are lazy and don't feel like wading thru the minutes and videos of various meetings to get what we want....SO TELL US!

Anonymous said...

Annon 6:30 it is going to be huge and parking will be a nightmare and the builder is proposing valet parking, but don't be alarmed it is not going to be another store for these fat cats .... it is going to be a store to your liking I think it will be a Dollar Tree.

Anonymous said...

7:52---

A Dollar Tree in Walnut Creek? For shame my dear for even mentioning such a thing.

You know that we are far too posh to allow such a low-life enterprise into our oh-so-upscale downtown. It is a wonder that Ross is allowed to stay.....but just wait, as the economy recovers it too will be gone because of further redevelopment of the blighted area in the shopping district.

The only reason that Target is still here is because it is out of the center of town and the visiting shoppers who we strive to attract don't have to be bothered by it's existence.

Bob Brittain said...

Anonymous poster from 6:30pm:

I have shown you how to fish for information but I don't care to serve the fish to you because you need to learn how to do your own research.

Bob

Castle Hill Bill said...

SM- Have you corroborated the info that your man on the inside 'Bob' has been disseminating? I think it could be bunk! I have heard from someone that knows an authoritative figure that knows a guy that operates heavy equipment while lightheaded that the trees are being cleared to build an overflow parking lot for a new branch library featuring an outdoor oxygen bar. With all the money you are raking in from ads and movie rights from this blog one would think that you would have hired a full time fact checker by now. The nerve of you to make some of your readers hysterical while you are stirring their pot!

Anonymous said...

.zzzzZZZZZzzzzzzZZz.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for showing us the way Bob....we'd flounder without you.

Anonymous said...

Let's get RAMPART on this parking situation ASAP!

CastleHill, see you at the O2 bar.

Anonymous said...

SM,

Your credibility is up in smoke because, according to the project's website, this freaking project has been in the pipeline since early 2009. Get a clue.

Anonymous said...

Bobbo to the rescue again.

Wonder when he is going to announce his run for City Council?

Anonymous said...

Bob Brittain is interested in running for the city council?

Whose seat would he be running for since his library friends Cindy Silva and Sue Rainey are the ones who are up for election this year?

LeftCoast said...

Some people really don't get the point of what a blog is and isn't do they.

To 10:31 Anon, do you really her credibility is defined by a blog?

Seriously get a LIFE and stop expecting this to be your news source.

Anonymous said...

Left Coast....

This blog written by SM is actually our only real source of local news which is why we love it so much.

The CCTimes is just a trumpet for the pap that comes out of city hall and covers the entire east bay. We need people like SM who are nosy and active in the community to give us all the news that's fit to print.

Anonymous said...

I agree 10:20am, this blog is a great source for local news, information and opinions. Just like the newspaper, you can take it or leave it.

LeftCoast said...

Anons at 10;20 and 11:15 that is fine if you come here for news, just don't get all worked up if she doesn't get it exactly right. But then again i don't know if it is you two who made the other anonymous comments. Really, at least make up something to call yourselves so you can be identified and still be anonymous.

Just click name/url below and fill out the Name portion, only takes a second.

Anonymous said...

I've read all the posts, and everyone can make up their own minds about whether they think this is a good project or not.

However, while the contractors might not have removed the redwood trees initially, in fact they're now all cut except for one small one. They were NOT all pines, there WERE quite a few redwoods which have now been cut.

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