City amends public tree plan

Doug Haderle’s car was totaled when a city tree fell after the city allegedly sawed off some of the tree’s roots.

The City Council changed the Seal Beach Tree Master Plan Monday, May 9 so that residents of Council District Four will be notified before trees are planted on the public right of way.

Councilman Gary Miller, who represents District 4, proposed amending the city’s 2011 Street Tree Master Plan to have the city notify residents before trees are planted. Under the proposal, residents would be allowed to object to the planting of trees in front of or to one side of their homes.

Miller said he proposed the  change in the language of the tree plan so property owners would know when the city plants trees. Until that time, the city does not notify resident owners about the planting of trees on their streets.

Miller said if the proposal was not approved, he recommended that property owners notify the city if they don’t want trees planted on the public right of way.

District 1 Councilwoman Ellery Deaton said they were trying to fix something that isn’t broken.

However, District 3 Councilman Gordon Shanks said he could see Miller’s problem. He asked if the city arbitrarily planted trees in people’s yards.

Public Works Director Sean Crumby said all plantings have been on public property.

Deaton said this would be a problem in the Old Town area of the city, where there are many absentee property owners.

Mayor Michael Levitt, who represents District 5, suggested having notices issued by district.

Crumby said staff would revise the language so District 4 residents would get advance notification of tree plantings. The council voted 5-zero in favor of the proposal as changed. Deaton asked if council could work with staff on the wording.

Levitt said District 1 would be notified differently.

In other news, the council:

•    Ratified the appointment of Maria Smalewitz to serve on the Environmental Quality Control Board until the 2012 term expires.

•    Reintroduced an ordinance regulating wheeled vehicles on sidewalks. “The current provisions of the Municipal Code concerning ‘wheeled devices’ required clarification,” wrote Police Chief Jeff Kirkpatrick in his report to the council. “The code defines a ‘wheeled device’ to include bicycles roller skates, scooters, segways and skateboards. It specifically excludes baby strollers, shopping carts, wheelchairs and motorized cycles utilized by disabled persons.” The ordinance was part of the Consent Calendar and was approved without discussion. This was the first reading. The ordinance will return to the council for a second reading in June.

•    Acting as the Redevelopment Agency, the council hired Redevelopment Reporting Solutions as a financial consultant for the Seal Beach RDA. The cost is not to exceed $7,000.