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!