Glendale pair may find pruning trees is costly

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREPettersson scores another winner, Canucks beat Kings GLENDALE – Taking clippers to a tree can be costly in Glendale, where a couple has been fined $347,600 for pruning 13 trees on and around their property. City officials, though, say any attempt to collect the fine is on hold and they have no intention of charging that much. It’s just a matter of regulations not being properly tailored to fit the offense, officials said. “None of us are going to put that kind of fine on the people,” said City Councilman Dave Weaver. Within the next couple of months, the City Council is expected to discuss the ordinance on which the fine was based – it’s calculated based on a formula – and examine how it could be changed. But Ann and Michael Collard – the couple on Whiting Woods Road that received the $347,600 notice of violation last month – aren’t relaxing yet. “I’ll only be relieved when they finally tell us that they’ve either relieved us from the fine or changed it to something reasonable,” said Michael Collard, 36. The city’s ordinance protects indigenous trees – the oaks, sycamores and bay laurels that normally grow in the area. The law was passed about 20 years ago, after a developer cut down old oak trees in the Mountain Oaks area and residents reacted in an uproar, said Bob McFall, assistant city manager. The city increased the fines earlier this year because other developers were cutting down trees – and paying the fine as a cost of doing business, officials said. center_img But officials say that when they changed the ordinance, they never anticipated anyone would be fined the way the Collards were. The Collards hired a licensed tree-trimming company to prune 13 trees, including five trees on city property near the street that they later found out they were not supposed to touch, Michael Collard said. In June, the city told the tree trimmers to stop pruning the 13 trees. “We knew the trees were protected – can’t knock them down, can’t cut a limb,” Collard said. “But we were under the impression that for light pruning, a permit wasn’t required.” The Collards should have gotten a permit for the work, McFall said. It’s free, but it allows the city to know about the upcoming work and to provide advice on how to best prune a tree, he said. As it is, the trees on and around the Collard property were improperly pruned, diminishing their value, McFall said. There are a few other unresolved cases of individuals being fined under the city’s indigenous-tree ordinance. But none of them face the kind of fine the Collards were issued – and all of them committed tree destruction instead of just pruning, McFall said. Fines are calculated based on a formula that takes into account the size of the tree and other factors, McFall said. Soon after the Collards were fined $347,600, the city put the issue on hold until it could sort out how much they should really pay. But that still hasn’t happened yet. “We don’t know what they expected when they sent that in the mail – if they just expected us to whip out our checkbook and write a check for $350,000,” said Michael Collard. [email protected] 818-546-3304160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more