On Jan. 30, the San Luis Obispo Architectural Review Commission approved an apartment project and the clear-cutting of 55 of 59 trees located at 71 Palomar Ave. The unnecessary removal of a 95-foot Norfolk Island Pine whose trunk measures 30 inches is shameful. The tallest national champion is in Camarillo and measures 108 feet; the species is naturally long-lived, tolerant of all soil types and windy conditions. Because of size, they are seldom seen in home landscapes, and their use is typically in parks and botanical gardens.
Norfolk Island Pines make spectacular specimen trees when situated on large expanses such as 71 Palomar. They were first introduced into California by William Walker in 1859. This specimen was probably planted a mere 30 years after introduction into California. It was planted by the owner, an orchardist, when the historic Sandford House was built. Had the commission and the Southern California developer chosen to preserve this tree, it would have qualified as a “Heritage Tree” because of its exceptional size, noteworthy age and cultural significance.
Please go see this amazingly beautiful site and the tree canopy, habitat to many birds and animals, which may soon be gone.
Cheryl McLean, San Luis Obispo
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