City Council agrees magnificent oak at 2353 Webster deserves protection

We did it!  Thank you to all of you who wrote letters, buttonholed Council members (virtually!) and commented at the City Council meeting last evening.   Thank you also to the owner and her team, City staff members and most importantly to the Council members for addressing the fate and importance of the magnificent oak tree at 2353 Webster.

After more than four hours of deliberations, the Palo Alto City Council formally decided on the appeal of the Individual Review for the 2-story house with a basement at 2353 Webster.  See our earlier blog  for details on the issue. 

On a 4-3 split decision with Council Members Kou, Dubois, Tanaka and Kniss in favor, and Councilmembers Fine, Cormack and Filseth opposed, the Council approved the project with conditions of approval.

These conditions include additional protections for the tree, such as having an arborist onsite at all times during demolition of the existing house, limiting the depth of the bottom surface of the basement to 7 feet below ground surface and a maximum basement ceiling height of 8 feet.

In the opinion of Save Palo Alto’s Groundwater, with these conditions and careful construction, including basement excavation in late summer, we expect minimal or no dewatering will be required.  Although clearly “no basement” would be most protective of this wonderful community treasure, the Council’s decision to approve a shallower basement with no dewatering maximizes the chances that this tree will survive for another 300 years.

Thank you again for your advocacy!


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4 Responses to City Council agrees magnificent oak at 2353 Webster deserves protection

  1. Becky Sanders says:

    Congratulations. You all did a great job. Outstanding advocacy.

    • admin says:

      Thanks for the kind words, but it’s obvious the public comments were most important. I’m sure Council Members realized their constituents really, really care about trees. On the other hand, it’s too hard to work these issues one-by-one. We need stronger dewatering regulations that actually limit the amount of water pumped.

  2. rita vrhel says:

    Good work everyone! thank you for rallying to save this heritage tree. And likley many other wonderful trees in Palo Alto which could have been adversely effected by a poor ruling in this case. Thank you!

  3. Beatrix Cashmore says:

    Congratulations on your victory with the PA City Council! The grand oak tree will continue thanks to your efforts. Regardless of the pandemic it seems that development of Palo Alto will go on endlessly. Good to know that there are those who will remain vigilant in protecting the quality of the environment. Until June 2019 I was a lifelong resident of PA and it is reassuring to know that Save Palo Alto’s Groundwater is still on the job. Bravo!

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