What started as a city street improvement project has morphed into a fight over the trees that line the ABC streets neighborhood.

When ABC streets residents first heard that the city was finally repaving their cracked and warped streets, they were pleased. But the $3 million project, which is slated to be finished by the end of the year, also requires cutting down about 220 trees in the area, according to city staff.

“The neighborhood had an extensive amount of sidewalk work and road work that needed to be done,” said Napa’s Deputy Public Works Director Phil Brun. “The goal is to get into an older neighborhood that’s really in need of street paving and also install ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) ramps and repair failed curbs and gutters and missing links of sidewalk.”

As neighbors noticed last week, the project includes cutting down trees that were planted more than 50 years ago, and that the city said are either unhealthy or are causing problems for the sidewalks.

“Trees have a lifespan, just like people,” Dave Perazzo, the city’s parks, trees and facilities manager, said Tuesday. “These trees we are talking are Arizona Ash, which have a relatively short life span – about 30-40 years.”

Perazzo, who said the area is home to about 600 trees in all, pointed out that older trees are at a risk to fall or become diseased. He said that workers analyzed every single tree in the area before determining which ones would need to be cut down.

But area residents were not pleased with the city’s decision, taping signs to trees last week that were slated to be removed that begged city crews to not cut down the old-growth. Perazzo said the city understood the new trees wouldn’t be as large, offer as much shade or be considered as pretty as the older growth ashes, but pointed out that safety was the city’s main concern.

“Our job is to look out for the best interest of the community,” he said. “We don’t want to leave trees behind that could become a hazard. We’ve done that in other neighborhoods and had trees fall. We don’t remove trees for no reason. Safety is our reason.”

Perazzo said the city will not only replace every single tree it removes, but will also plant additional trees in front of bare residents, as long as the homeowners will commit to maintaining the new trees.

“We need buy-in from the property owners,” he said. “Some say they will be happy to water them, others say they don’t want to. We’re having a tree commission meeting (Wednesday) that we’ve invited some residents to attend.”

Brun said that the city hopes to finish the majority of the project by the end of this year. Perazzo said that the tree planting will occur after the sidewalks and some of the streets have been repaired.

Wednesday’s Tree Commission meeting will occur at 5:30 p.m. in Napa City Council chambers at 955 School Street. For more information on the city’s ABC streets project, visit cityofnapa.org.

(13) comments

Papa
Papa

Mature trees add a lot to a house and neighborhood, if it is important to a homeowner, have a arborist come out and give an estimate as to how much the cost of riot pruning vs cutting down, if the difference isn't much, offer to pay the difference, cutting a tree down is expensive, so put up a fight and you may find that it is more economical to keep the tree.

Straight Talk
Straight Talk

I grew up on Spencer Street (many, many years ago) and it is absolutely fantastic to see the street and sidewalk improvements being made there today. There is much repair and replacement work needed in that area including the trees. Plant new trees, let them grow, manage them well... all this work will improve the look and value of the neighborhoods considerably. This is great! Well done City of Napa.

Tattoo daddy
Tattoo daddy

I love trees as well but as a tax payer I say cut them down. The trees are the reason that all the curbs an sidewalks are so messed up in this town. I don't want the city to spend all this money and 10 yrs from now the roots from the trees mess up all the work that they did and end up costing me more money to replace it again. Those of you that are home owners and want to keep the trees should get a lawyer draw up a contract with the city that says if the trees you want to save

tfytmp
tfytmp

The trees in Belaire are worse than the one I saw on the Letter streets today. Why not start in Belaire.

Cadence
Cadence

If the city would cut out the giant globs of mistletoe, those trees would be looking a lot better and be healthier besides.

Napanee
Napanee

I have lived in the ABC streets for over thirty years. I had one of my Ash trees come down a few years ago. One across the street came down also. I love big trees and hate to see them go but they are old and dying. If you look them up on the web you will see that they are beyond their life expectancy.

glenroy
glenroy

Falling trees are not good, if they are sick then cut em down.

If the aren't sick that's a different story.

fmmt47
fmmt47

The furthering of the uglification of Napa. In the last 25 years virtually none of the trees that have been removed in the city have been replaced, now they want to log one of the historic districts of town because it's "unsafe." These are the same hypocrites that are crying about climate change all of the time so they are removing trees which allegedly help to remedy some of the effects of so called "climate change"?.

Jpollock
Jpollock

Unfourtantly the lawyers of this country, the majority vote for the right, will look for any reason to make money by sueing whoever they can. They see easy profits in getting settlements for people who trip on sidewalks. This is the cities way of protecting against greed

glenroy
glenroy

Most of the Ash trees don't live long...Bel-Air Ash trees are dying off while the Pistachio, non fruit, are going strong both planted within 10 years…

If they're healthy don't cut em......not like the sidewalks crews don't have enough to do already and at the pace they’re going nobody will notice anyway.

5th Generation Napan
5th Generation Napan

I grew up on the letter streets and the only trees I EVER saw fall, were cut down, and did not fall. Napa is suppose to be a Tree City. While I believe the Parks / Rec dept. does a good job, I do get tired of hearing trees "could be susceptible to disease". There are many examples of trees removed for convenience over danger, and that's the problem. Other than run down rental homes, the letter streets could be one of Napa's gem of a neighborhood. The trees contribute to that as far as Shade, Maturity, Diversity, and Uniqueness. Its disgusting Napa is trying to turn itself into a bonsai garden of perfectly manicured nature, because people are too lazy to take care of them.

Cadence
Cadence

How about if the city replaces the trees they chopped down on Trower? Now there's a satin- smooth sidewalk and no one walking on it - it's too hot and ugly. I haven't seen a wheelchair or a trip and fall on that stretch in the fifteen years I've lived nearby.

Jpollock
Jpollock

How about any person who wants to save the trees agrees to put the title of their house on the line for any compensation if someone trips and sues. Instead of the city and taxpayers forking the bill the homeowners can. Let's see how much support they give then

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