Editorials

SLO County supervisors must act to prevent further destruction of oak trees

North County residents are concerned about a massive removal of oak trees making way for a vineyard. A stop work order has been issued by the county to Estate Vineyards LLC. The property is north of Highway 46 West.
North County residents are concerned about a massive removal of oak trees making way for a vineyard. A stop work order has been issued by the county to Estate Vineyards LLC. The property is north of Highway 46 West. dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

The removal of hundreds of oak trees from North County vineyard property has outraged residents around San Luis Obispo County — and justifiably so.

Protest petitions that call for an oak tree protection ordinance are expected to be presented to the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

This is a no-brainer. An oak tree ordinance is long overdue. Other California counties, including Santa Barbara and Monterey, have regulations that prevent reckless destruction of oaks. San Luis Obispo County, however, has lacked the political will to follow suit. As Tribune staff writer Lindsey Holden reported Sunday, the county considered adopting an ordinance 20 years ago, but couldn’t agree on rules. Instead, the board adopted voluntary guidelines urging farmers to maintain native trees.

The recent oak tree massacre on a 315-acre parcel owned by Estate Vineyards LLC — a subsidiary of The Wonderful Co. founded by Stewart and Lynda Resnick — shows how well the voluntary route worked.

This time, the board needs to get it right. We strongly urge county officials to move as expeditiously as possible to adopt an ordinance with enough teeth to truly protect our oak woodlands.

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