One of Oldest Trees in Palisades Cut Down
One of the oldest and tallest trees in Pacific Palisades was cut down on January 11 to make way for a new home.
According to Alphabet Street neighbor Bart Bartholomew, “The 140′ tall ‘Star of Newport’ at 1121 Galloway was destroyed in less than one day following nearly 90 years as a perch for every native species of birds from sparrows to red-tail hawks,” he wrote in an email to Circling the News.
“Neighbors stood by holding their breaths as the giant was cut down,” Bartholomew said. “The crowd was heard speaking in hushed tones, ‘I played under that tree when I was two years old.’ ‘We used to climb that tree.’ ‘What a loss.’ ‘I have an ocean view now!’ ‘What are you gonna do, it’ll be another 5-bedroom house.’ A sad loss indeed.”
Neighbor Rosanne Mangio, who has lived in the Palisades for more than 60 years, asked the crew if the tree was diseased. “They said, ‘No,’ but were told to cut it down by the person who owned the property.”
She said, “Not only was it a beautiful specimen [Norfolk pine], but I grew up with that tree from a very young age.” Regarding the tree as a living being, she thanked it for its beauty and the joy it brought the neighbors.
Mangio said that another neighbor reported that he had been given a short notice to remove his cars so that falling trees branches wouldn’t damage them. “He told me they loved the tree.”
The tree was an evergreen, Araucaria Columnaris, and was first classified by a botanist on the second voyage of Captain James Cook. The tree is native to New Caledonia and grows to a height of 100 to 160 feet. Often used as an ornamental tree, it is found in Australia, northern New Zealand, Southern California, Puerto Rico, Mexico, India, Philippines and Hawaii.
We called the L.A. Bureau of Street Services, forestry division, on January 17. Parkway trees need a permit before they can be pruned or cut down. On private property, unless it is a California oak, which is protected, trees can be cut without a permit.
“Councilman Bonin has helped lead the charge on the City Council to better protect neighborhood trees, including introducing and co-sponsoring legislation to improve how trees are maintained and protected,” said Lisa Cahill, Bonin’s Palisades and Brentwood Field Deputy, in a January 17 email. “Because this tree was on private property, the development project was not subject to discretionary review by the city, and the tree was not listed as a protected species of tree in Los Angeles, there was no legal action that the Councilman or neighbors had to prevent the tree’s removal.
“Moving forward, Councilman Bonin is working to support the recommendations of the recent Urban Forestry Master Plan to reexamine and update the city’s rules regarding when neighbors are allowed to remove large and heritage trees on private property such as this one.”