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Cerritos Council Will Consider Massive City Reforestation Plan

Thursday January 10, 2019


Tree City USA has become Tree Problem USA with the Cerritos City Council taking serious steps at tonight’s regular meeting to begin mitigating the wide-ranging problems that come with the moniker Tree City.

Cerritos has over 4,100 pine trees within its borders- many dropping needles, cones, while bleeding sap, causing what the City calls “a negative impact on residential areas.”

In November 2017, the City Council, led by then-Mayor pro tem Mark Pulido and Councilman Frank Yokoyama, directed the Property Preservation Commission to evaluate the trees in and adjacent to the City’s residential streets.

One possible action would be reforestation, the removal of many pine trees in the City in favor of trees that have less negative impact.

In March and November of 2018, the PPC conducted a study of the pine trees and found that “they are not appropriate for residential areas.”

The next step was to determine the number of trees and a reforestation plan.

The PPC worked closely with Great Scott Tree Service and found that 2,964 were causing problems in the City’s neighborhoods.

The commission concluded that the negative impact of the pine trees on residential areas far exceeded the positive environmental impact and recommended reforestation.

Remove and Replace

The reforestation study now turned to assessing the impact of removal on area neighborhoods and estimating the cost to remove the trees.

A project of this scope would be completed in phases as determined by the PPC and City Council. City officials would want to minimize the aesthetic and environmental impacts, the only feasible way to accomplish that is to contract with a large tree service who could remove and replace all of the pines on any given street at one time.

City staff then outlined cost for tree removal, tree replacement, and probable repairs to surrounding sidewalks.

It was estimated that a single tree removal and replacement would cost $1,650, for a total of nearly $4.9 million, 2,964 x $1,650.

“Problem trees” would cost the City an additional $8,540 for curb, gutter, street and parkway repairs, for a total of $10,190.

Of the 2,964 trees that need to be removed, 60% (1,778) would be classified as problem trees and could cost the City over $18.1 million, 1,778 x $10,190.

Adding the nearly $2 million to remove and replace non-problem trees and the reforestation would cost the City over $20 million.

“I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree.” – Joyce Kilmer

Many trees were considered for replacement at the PPC’s November 2018 meeting that would fit the standard five-foot residential Cerritos parkway while “emphasizing variety and diversity of species.”

Some included the African Tulip, the Chinese Tallow, Red Oak, Yew Pine, Magnolia, Brisbane Box, Sweet Bay, Crape Myrtle, Pink Trumpet, Honey Locust, and Eastern Red Bud. Examples can be found at the end of this article.

City Councilman Frank Yokoyama told HMG-LCCN, “As a City Councilmember, I have been committed to taking important actions regarding our City parkway trees. Listening to our residents, I provided leadership to again call for a pine tree reforestation plan. I have focused my attention on addressing the numerous tree-related concerns of many residents. Furthermore, I was the only City Council candidate who called for a pine tree reforestation plan back in 2017. I am committed to finding a policy solution for this pine tree dilemma that has not been resolved by the City for decades.”

The council will consider the plan at tonight’s regular City Council meeting.







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Lilah Larrabure
Lilah Larrabure

Spending $18-23 million on tree removal, on beautiful healthy trees, is a complete waste of taxpayer money! Most people choose to live in Cerritos and Artesia because they like the tree style of landscape, which literally offers a breath of fresh air. I would like them to keep the trees an offer a solution which is more feasible for everyone. Solution: they should have thorough street sweeping and offer sidewalk sweeping and occasional power washing in more potentially problem prone areas.