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In California Neighbors’ Dispute, Officials Find It’s Time to Speak for the Trees

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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 05:22 PM
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In California Neighbors’ Dispute, Officials Find It’s Time to Speak for the Trees
Neither State Senator Joe Simitian of California nor the state’s governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, bears much resemblance to Dr. Seuss’s Lorax. But on Tuesday, like that fictional defender of the environment, they spoke for the trees.

More than six months after two Santa Clara residents were convicted under a state nuisance law for letting their redwoods cast shade on a neighbor’s solar panels, the governor signed into law a bill that gives trees the right to grow as they please — as long as they predate any solar panels they might be shading.

“I think we’ve demonstrated that there is nothing mutually inconsistent about trees and solar,” said Mr. Simitian, a Democrat who wrote the bill, shortly after the measure was signed on Tuesday. “I was frustrated by the tone of the debate at the outset — that it was somehow about trees versus solar. I thought it should be about trees and solar.”

He added, “We need to get past talking about who’s right and talk about what’s right.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/23/us/23solar.html?ref=u...
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DCKit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 05:41 PM
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1. I remember this case, and the trees were, in fact, planted AFTER the panels were installed.
However, in context, the law makes sense.

As much as everyone loves them, there are many, many trees and tall shrubs more appropriate to landscaping in urban settings than redwoods. Obviously, for fire-prone CA, it's a far more difficult choice, but it's getting harder to argue which is more important - the trees or the energy.
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ben_meyers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 05:54 PM
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2. Wrong. FTA
Mr. Vargas had tried to get his neighbors to remove or drastically prune a group of redwoods they had planted beginning more than a decade ago. The trees now loom over Mr. Vargas’s home and over solar panels he installed in 2001, six years after the first redwoods were planted.


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DCKit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 06:09 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. It may be a different case then....
But the impression I got when first reading about this some months ago was that it was an open act of hostility against the neighbor with the solar panels.

As I said, I agree with the ruling and redwoods are resistant to fire (and f*ing gorgeous to boot) - Not something you can say about many other trees, and a huge consideration almost everywhere in CA.
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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 05:55 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. If you want a conifer in California
Redwoods aren't a bad way to go at all.

Most true pines get pretty flaky, firs are unhappy and short-lived, it's hard to find a juniper with good form and good height, cedars get HUGE, incense cedars smell, giant redwoods are very slow-growing, and so forth.

Our only "native" conifers in this part of the state are ghost pine and those little squat junipers, and both of those get a big meh for urban value, as far as I'm concerned.

Coast redwoods are fast growing, fairly drought-tolerant, bomb-proof, and they're happy growing in a row.

And I say this as someone who has a redwood privacy screen along our back fence. ;)

If the people behind us decide they want to go solar, well, that's their problem. :P

We've also got an unhappy Monterey cypress back there, and it just doesn't screen very well. :shrug:


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depakid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 06:03 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. They grow well in Oregon, too
There are several in my neighborhood- and there are some 140 year old "puppies" by the Courthouse that have gotten quite impressive.
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