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Bad News For Trees as Arcadia HOAs Consolidate Standards

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Last week, the Arcadia city council approved a resolution that consolidates the development standards, design guidelines, and design review procedures for the five homeowner associations in the city, reports the Pasadena Star News. The results: it's a lot easier for property owners to remove trees (except, of course, for oaks, which are protected citywide) and harder for them to change their driveways. They'll also have to notify more neighbors of any major construction. Prior to the adoption of the new standards, four out of the five HOAs protected liquid ambers, sycamores, magnolias, and pines that had a diameter of at least six inches. Of course, regulations involving both private property and the lives of trees are never without controversy. Mary Dougherty, president of Santa Anita Oaks Homeowners' Association, for instance, tells the PSN that the Arcadia City Council's decision to end protection for trees shows the council is in the pocket of developers: "The council members who objected to the protection of the trees were perhaps more interested in protecting the rights of the builders and developers than the rights of people that live in the neighborhood." Arcadia Councilmember Bob Harbicht argues that if a property owner wants to cut down a tree, they should be able to cut down a tree (without asking): "Whether you planted it or didn't, it's your tree...You paid for that property and you have certain property rights that go with that."
· Arcadia tweaks homeowner associations' authorities [Pasadena Star News]