A Santa Barbara couple and their friend who were faced with paying a $41,200 fine over some trees illegally cut down have worked out a compromise with San Luis Obispo’s tree committee.
Frank and Alida Freda cut down three pine trees without a required permit on their newly purchased commercial lot at 3583 S. Higuera St. with the help of their friend, Willie Cook of Templeton.
They didn’t know about the city’s tree ordinance — the strictest in San Luis Obispo County — that charges four times the value of the tree cut down if an $81 removal permit isn’t purchased.
Keith Pellemeier, the city’s urban forest supervisor, said that the Fredas and the tree committee worked out a deal Monday evening that will require the couple to plant 12 cypress trees on city land along South Higuera Street and then take care of them for five years to make sure the trees survive. The agreement relieves the Fredas and Cook of the potential fine.
Pellemeier said that anyone considering cutting down trees on their property should contact the city’s Planning Department to avoid violating the ordinance.