SLO workers, committee battle over crooked tree

October 30, 2014

caltreeCity workers say a downtown San Luis Obispo tree should be cut down because it is damaging the sidewalk and creating safety and drainage issues, but an often-ignored city committee insists that the tree must stay. [KSBY]

San Luis Obispo employees, including the city arborist and public works inspector argue that a crooked-growing tree is causing problems on Higuera Street. City staff recommended cutting the tree, fixing the sidewalk and planting a new one.

That option would cost around $25,000 and could be completed in a week, public works inspector Kyle Rowland said.

But, the San Luis Obispo Tree Committee has rejected the idea. The committee recommended instead that the city build a sidewalk around the tree, which would take the place of two existing curbside parking spots.

Such a project would cost upwards of $45,000 and would not begin until next July.

The tree committee’s recommendation has also upset the business in front of which the crooked tree stands.

“I don’t think that is the best idea,” said Domenick Fountain, a supervisor at the Cal Poly Downtown Store.

Fountain said the project would block the display in the Cal Poly store windows, in addition to costing extra and taking away parking.

If public works staff were to remove the tree, it must first meet ADA requirements and gain the approval of the tree committee and city council.


I had a very similar problem in front of my house. The roots of a city liquid amber tree had grown into and broken my water line, which I paid to repair myself. But as a result the tree really grew! The sidewalk was eventually lifted up over eight inches and cracked everywhere. I contacted the city who gave me the same runaround – give up part of your front yard to build the sidewalk around the tree, or wait two years for the tree committee to make a decision.

Then one day my elderly handicapped neighbor fell on the sidewalk. The neighbor’s son reported me to the police, claiming it was my fault the sidewalk was so bad; and then to the city claiming I had overgrown vegetation blocking the sidewalk- which was completely untrue. I finally reached someone at city hall who recognized I had no overgrown vegetation, the tree and sidewalk constituted a safety hazard, and within two weeks the tree was removed and the city redid my sidewalk.

There are many other crumbling uplifted sidewalks that also constitute safety hazards – check out the sidewalk on Johnson Avenue in front of Rite-Aid or the curbs along Mitchell Park on Osos Street. There are probably many others that I don’t personally know about.

So much for Measure Y going to maintaining our quality of life.


Measure Y is maintaining quality of life, they just didn’t say who’s quality of life.


Only Government comes up with alternative “solutions” at nearly double the cost.


Didn’t the Cal Poly store once go after a local business for selling Cal Poly merchandise, could this be a little Karma for them?


Yeah, Bello’s Sporting Goods which had been selling a bit of CP merchandise since the 1950’s.


Unbelievable. Sometimes I think that this “society” we’re living in has evolved into a perverted Kafka-esque nightmare of convoluted imbecility.

Hell, back when I was a kid, if somebody had a tree that was no longer serving a constructive purpose and presented a possible public danger, he’d give me and my buddies each a saw and a six-pack. By the end of the day the tree would be gone, and so would the six-pack.

Unfortunately, those days are now gone, along with the common sense that governed the times.

Rich in MB

A TREE COMMITTEE…ha ha ha…you fools in SLO have let the Government Grow out of Control. I sure hope Measure G fails and you are forced to not only down down this stupid tree, but the salaries of City workers as well!


Given that you’re from “MB”, I wouldn’t throw that “fools” label around too freely.


I can see why the Tree Committee is “often ignored”.


This tree is a symbol of local politics. It is not surprising that more money seems to be the solution.


Call the AG public works…they’ll do if for free.


Is this a joke? Build a $45,000 sidewalk around a deformed tree? In a drought?