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Grover Beach puts Ramona Park tree back on the chopping block

The removal of the 90-foot tree from Ramona Garden Park in Grover Beach will move forward at the end of the month.
The removal of the 90-foot tree from Ramona Garden Park in Grover Beach will move forward at the end of the month. kleslie@thetribunenews.com

It was a short-lived reprieve. A week after Grover Beach announced it would remove a 90-foot Monterey cypress tree from Ramona Garden Park and then just as quickly delayed that decision amid resident pushback, it looks like the tree will once again be on the chopping block at the end of the month.

The Grover Beach City Council on Monday directed staff to tentatively go through with removing the tree, unless a second arborist’s review can prove the tree does not pose a public safety risk.

“Look, public safety is our top priority,” Mayor John Shoals said. “We have an arborist saying this tree is diseased and poses a threat and risk. I could not live with myself if something happened to anyone that’s in that park, walking under that tree, who lives on that street. So we’re going to move forward with expediency.”

An arborist hired by the city examined the tree in August and found signs of decay throughout the massive tree. According to the arborist’s report, the decay increases the risk of falling branches. Because of that, the arborist recommended removing the tree.

As the wife of a former insurance claims adjustor, all I see is the huge liability for the city if we don’t take care of it.

Barbara Nicolls, Grover Beach City Council

“As the wife of a former insurance claims adjustor, all I see is the huge liability for the city if we don’t take care of it,” Councilwoman Barbara Nicolls said during discussion Monday.

The tree and adjacent parking spaces and sidewalk will remain roped off to protect the public until it is removed.

Grover Beach resident Anita Shower, who spearheaded the effort to protect the tree last week, said there was no reason to remove it. She provided a report to the staff Monday night from a separate arborist, A&T Arborist, claiming the same.

“We need that cypress tree — the people’s tree,” she said. “According to A&T Arborist, the only issue with the tree is the fact that it has been terribly neglected.”

The city staff will review the report and determine whether the information should stop the tree’s removal.

Otherwise, the tree removal will move forward as scheduled sometime at the end of the month. Once removed, the city will replace it with a new tree.

Kaytlyn Leslie: 805-781-7928, @kaytyleslie

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