Months after Buster’s Southern BBQ owner Charles Davis was at odds with the city over permits for a new music arbor, he is now in a dispute with the city over a permit that was issued to remove three trees in the back of the property.

Davis said his insurance carrier required him to remove the dead and diseased redwood trees because they were in danger of dropping branches and dead limbs on customers at the indoor/outdoor restaurant, and causing a liability. He was issued a permit by the city to do so in April.

However, on inspecting the work last week, the city was surprised to find Davis had also removed the huge stumps and moved a lot of dirt in the area.

“Every time we issue a simple permit he takes it and goes a mile further,” said Brad Cannon, city building official.

The city red-tagged the project and Davis was initially given two weeks to supply more information to the city about the project.

According to Cannon, the city was not sure what Davis was planning to do.

“It has something to do with a retaining wall,” he said.

Now, at the advise of the city attorney, the city has issued an order for Davis to take corrective action and replace the soil and the integrity of the area, Cannon said, which will require a grading permit.

Davis says there is a misunderstanding about the language of the permit to remove the trees.

“There is no stipulation on the permit for not taking the stumps out. ‘Remove the tree’ is taking the tree including the stumps,” he said.

He is also frustrated that the city didn’t tell him, at the time he got the permit, that he would need another permit to grade the area after removing the stumps.

“How am I supposed to know? I wasn’t asked if I was going to take the roots out. How come I wasn’t asked ahead of time?” he said.

Had he known he would need another permit and have to go to the expense of grading, he would have left the stumps, he said.

Davis also said that at his own expense he had a licensed survey of trees on the property and looked into constructing a retaining wall.

“I want no problems after (the ordeal with) the arbor. I get hit for being proactive,” he said.

Last fall, Davis was embroiled with the city over building a music arbor, the construction of which exceeded what the permit allowed, the city contended. Davis is having the arbor redesigned and will have new plans in the next couple of weeks, he said.

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You can reach Cynthia Sweeney at csweeney@weeklycalistogan.com or 942-4035.


The Weekly Calistogan Editor

Cynthia Sweeney has been editor of The Weekly Calistogan since July, 2018. Previously, she was a reporter for the St. Helena Star, and North Bay Business Journal. She also spent a significant amount of time freelancing in Hawaii.