The 100-year-old oak tree that city leaders last year said was a downtown safety hazard met its fate over the weekend when workers cut it down.
Last year, the owners of Sylvester's Burgers at El Camino Real and West Mall requested that the city allow them to remove the tree because of concerns about a large limb that fell. The community later rallied to save the tree. But ultimately, in the fall, the Atascadero City Council said the 70-foot, diseased oak couldn't be trusted and had to come down.
The city determined the tree was in the city's right-of-way in front of the eatery's property.
In 2013, Sylvester's reported that a large, 18-inch-diameter limb broke off the tree and fell onto the sidewalk near the restaurant’s patio, which is also a popular hangout for youths from Atascadero's middle school and high school after class lets out on weekdays.
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The owner said he didn’t want to risk kids and other patrons getting hurt.
The 100-year-old coast live oak was one of several Atascadero founder E.G. Lewis planted in the landscape leading up to his historic City Administration Building.
Over the years though, as the city took shape, concrete and asphalt were laid over the tree’s roots, creating an unnatural habitat for the tree, which likely contributed to its poor health.
Sylvester's Burgers was not required to plant another tree in its place.
It was not immediately clear what would be done with the wood from the oak tree.