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Meeting to hear arguments against removal of Georgian Road oak canceled, moved to Feb. 14

Meeting to hear arguments against removal of Georgian Road oak canceled, moved to Feb. 14
Residents appealed a tree removal permit for a centuries-old oak at 650 Georgian Road. The matter was to be heard in a Jan. 24 Planning Commission meeting, but officials announced Thursday the meeting was canceled due to a lack of quorum. Feb. 14 is the new hearing date. (File Photo)

Officials announced a Jan. 24 La Cañada Planning Commission meeting — during which commissioners were to consider an appeal of a tree removal permit for a centuries-old oak at 650 Georgian Road — has been cancelled due to a lack of quorum.

Community Development Director Susan Koleda confirmed the cancellation in an email Thursday afternoon, nearly five hours before the meeting was to take place. Koleda said in the email all the items from the meeting’s agenda would be moved to the Planning Commission’s next regular meeting on Feb. 14 and be re-noticed.

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The city received an Oct. 2 application for a tree removal permit from new homeowner Alan Frank, which included an arbortist’s finding that a backyard oak tree thought to be centuries old suffered from poor health and should be removed for safety reasons.

Planning Department employees visited the property Oct. 24 and noticed significant wood decay, which posed a threat to the tree’s integrity and held the potential to cause injuries, according to a city report.

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The tree removal permit was approved Nov. 2 on the condition new owner Alan Frank plant one 48-inch box-sized replacement oak on the property within 90 days.

La Cañada residents Ed Johnson and Beth Fabinsky appealed the planning director’s approval. In their statements, they urged the Planning Commission to seek an independent determination to see if the heritage oak — a protected species in the city’s tree ordinance — might be spared.

“It is too easy to justify tree removal for an exceptional tree with an arborist report, and there is no incentive to find alternative accommodations to reduce risk of falling limbs, such as trimming and/or bracing,” Fabinsky said in an email.

Neighbors Mark and Lisa Goldstein, who live near the property, wrote a letter to planning commissioners on Jan. 2 supporting Frank’s diligence in seeking the opinion of an experienced arborist and recommending removal.

“Our beautiful trees in our city have helped define our identity and quality of life as a destination city, but that should not get in the way of preserving dangerous trees or putting undue risk or danger to property owners,” the letter stated.

The Planning Commission meets next on Feb. 14 at 6 p.m. in La Cañada Flintridge City Hall, 1327 Foothill Blvd. For more, call (818) 790-8881

1:32 p.m.: This article was updated with news from the La Cañada Flintridge Planning Department that the Jan. 24 Planning Commission meeting was cancelled due to a lack of quorum.

This article was originally published on Jan. 24 at 9 a.m.

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