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Developers Behind Coast Village Plaza Plan Want To Remove Three Towering Pine Trees

Montecito project asks city for permission to remove trees and then build new outdoor dining area, stairwell at 1187 Coast Village Road shopping center

The owners of the Coast Village Plaza near Montecito want to remove three pine trees, including the one pictured here, to build an outdoor dining area.
The owners of the Coast Village Plaza near Montecito want to remove three pine trees, including the one pictured here, to build an outdoor dining area.  (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

The owners of the Coast Village Plaza near Montecito want to chop down three towering, 65-foot pine trees in front of the strip shopping center that's home to Giovanni's Pizza, Scoop, the UPS store and other popular destinations.

The proposed tree removal will go before the city's Parks & Recreation Commission in a meeting Wednesday at City Hall.

H&R investments, the owner of the 18,869-square-foot shopping center, intends to remove three Canary Island pine trees to make room for a new outdoor dining deck area.

The group also says the tree's roots are threatening a nearby retaining wall, and the dropping pine needles create a slip hazard.

The trees themselves, however, are healthy

The owners have submitted an application to the city to build the new dining area, replace the exterior columns and alter the driveway to make it less steep.

H&R investments want to remove all of the landscaping in front of the building and then add new landscaping, a circular stairwell and other remodeling efforts. 

The city has already approved a modification for the project, allowing the decks to intrude within the required 10-foot street setback.

An architectural rendering shows the plan for Coast Village Plaza once  pine trees are removed. Click to view larger
An architectural rendering shows the plan for Coast Village Plaza once pine trees are removed.  (EID photo)

Heidi Jones, associate planner for Suzanne Elledge Planning & Permitting Services, said the ultimate goal is to "enhance the streetscape connectivity."

The design team wants to remove the trees because of the "leaf litter." 

"They don't necessarily fit in with the new landscape plan," Adam Graham, landscape architect for the project, said at an Architectural Board of Review meeting.

"We would like to have other plant material planted in and around them. At the moment they are basically a wasteland of soil."

An eucalyptus tree stands on the street in front of the project, a tree that Graham called "not a happy specimen."

He said the development would look better without any of the trees. 

"It would be nice if that the tree line in front of the building had something more going on than a not-so-great-looking eucalyptus and then the Canary Island pines at both ends of the property," Graham said. 

Graham wants to replace the pines with smaller flame trees.

Stephanie Poole, a member of the ABR, said she would like to see the trees stay.

"I am very disappointed to have the pines go," Poole said.

ABR member Courtney Jane Miller also said she likes the existing trees, but acknowledged that pine trees are not ideal and that they don't necessarily work well within the new landscape plan.

"I am very concerned about the removal of the three very large existing skyline trees," she said. 

"They really make a statement along this whole block along Coast Village Road."

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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