Mourning a Neighborhood Tree

The Windsor Square community is actively involved in preservation.  The charms of our vintage neighborhood – including its stately trees—are one of the major reasons we live here.  In a city that has lost so much of its historic architecture, the efforts of the Windsor Square and Hancock Park communities are reflected in our quality of life and the esteem with which our neighborhoods are held.

Occasionally, despite all our efforts, things go awry.  We are currently mourning the loss of a large parkway tree – a ficus benjamina – due to the efforts of a developer intent on “flipping” the house at 207 N. Arden.   The tree in question, which was large enough to shade both sides of the parkway, was cut down on March 12th, despite the request for a 10-day stay by Councilman Tom LaBonge, which was subsequently granted by Cynthia Ruiz, LA’s Commissioner of Public Works.  Unfortunately, the stay was not enforced by Assistant Chief City Forester Ron Lorenzen, and the tree was cut down anyway.   The WSA Board has yet to receive an answer from Ms. Ruiz’ and Mr. Lorenzen’s offices regarding why the stay was not enforced.

Ficus trees are known to have robust root systems, and the trees on Larchmont Boulevard wreaked havoc with the sidewalks a number of years ago.  However, instead of removing the trees, their roots were pruned, and the sidewalks restored.    The lesson for all Windsor Square residents is this:  we must remain involved, and vigilant, and cannot assume that the neighborhood’s best interests will be honored, even when we have the support of City officials.   Our city’s urban forest is constantly under assault, as is our desire to retain the local flavor in our neighborhoods.

We’d like to thank former WSA Board member Sean Elliott for his quick action on this issue, and encourage all Windsor Square residents to follow his example.   As always, contact information for any issue is available on the WSA website, www.windsorsquare.org.

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