Letters to the Editor

We need an oak ordinance, but don’t punish small farmers to get it

Oak trees shortly after sunrise on the Spanish Oaks ranch next to Highway 101
Oak trees shortly after sunrise on the Spanish Oaks ranch next to Highway 101 dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

A Tribune Editorial (“Supervisors must prevent the further destruction of oak trees,” June 20) suggests an oak tree ordinance is a “no-brainer.”

The maintenance of oak tree forests is not trivial. You point out an ordinance was considered 20 years ago. It was rightfully opposed by landowners who need to use methods such as thinning to maintain healthy forests.

At that time, an oak woodlands committee was appointed but lacked support by the county and died.

The real problem is predatory absentee owners who buy property in the county with clear objectives and without regard for the needs and rights of neighbors.

Wells to service the large-planting estate vineyards in an area known for having little water will, without doubt, affect neighbors for generations who dry farm and steward the land.

Clear-cutting and grading on steep slopes will wreak lingering environmental havoc. The county should have known from earlier experience.

Fines from the county will only serve as a cost of doing business for these people. The county needs to carefully consider permit applications and provide measures with teeth for the few that just don’t care.

Supervisors, please do not penalize the many landowners who are good stewards of their land.

Mike Broadhurst, Cambria

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