Saturday, March 17 , 2018, 9:17 pm | Fair 51º


Local News


Goleta Stops Developer From Cutting Down Trees, Then Gives the OK to Continue

A resident files a complaint after at least 50 eucalyptus trees are removed next to Highway 101 at The Village at Los Carneros

Stumps are all that remain of more than 50 eucalyptus trees that were cut down by the developer of The Village at Los Carneros in Goleta. City officials last week halted the cutting, but later determined it was allowed under the project’s landscape plan.
Stumps are all that remain of more than 50 eucalyptus trees that were cut down by the developer of The Village at Los Carneros in Goleta. City officials last week halted the cutting, but later determined it was allowed under the project’s landscape plan. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

The City of Goleta last week ordered the developer of The Village at Los Carneros to stop cutting down eucalyptus trees, after a resident complained that the cut was illegal. 

Goleta City Manager Michelle Greene, however, said the trees were cut down to build a retaining wall next to Highway 101, and that the potential tree removal was approved as part of the project's landscaping plan.

"The applicant had originally intended to retain as many trees as possible," Green wrote in an email to Rich Foster, who filed the complaint against the city. "But due to the construction of an approved retaining wall at the base of the berm, and the dead and dying condition of the trees, the trees needed to be removed prior to construction of the wall due to safety concerns."

The developer could remove as many as 170 more trees at the site.

Representatives for the developer, Comstock Homes, did not return Noozhawk's calls.

The Village at Los Carneros is a 465-unit project on a previously vacant 40-plus-acre site north and west of Los Carneros Road, just south of Highway 101.

The project will include single-family homes, duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, town homes, condominium flats and apartments — 70 of which will be reserved as affordable housing via Peoples’ Self-Help Housing.

Foster told Noozhawk that he believes too many eucalyptus trees are being removed under the plan to remove only "dead and dying" trees.

"It is a lovely view of the mountains if you eradicate the trees," Foster said. 

Greene told Foster that the city has required the developer to prepare an arborist report and survey to verify the location and condition of the trees. She expects the report and survey back later in the week. 

"Maybe an arborist should inspected the grove before hand," he said. 

According to Green, the approved landscape plans indicated that dead and dying eucalyptus trees would be removed, and that a replacement landscape plan consisted of 31 western sycamore and 41 coast live oaks planted above the retaining wall.

These trees have a mature canopy of 30 to 50 feet, and will provide screening from the freeway. Another 26 trees will provide screening below the retaining wall.

The eucalyptus trees at the western end of the site along the planned park space will remain, according to Green. 

Valerie Kushnerov, spokeswoman for the City of Goleta, said the cut was consistent with the approved landscaping plan. She said there were no birds nesting in any of the trees. 

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.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >