Saturday, July 28

Breathtaking regulatory overreach

"Chino Hills News" has another item by Marianne Napoles, this one currently not available online. It begins,
Trees on privately developed property in high-fire areas of Chino Hills would be protected by an ordinance approved July 17 by the planning commission.
To me, the word "protect" here means that one's right to cut down trees on one's own property would be violated. Also, note that even though the Chino Hills area is susceptible to wildfires, the city nevertheless wants to "protect" trees in those areas. They claim that "protection" will be limited to the larger-sized specimens of the California Live Oak, California Sycamore, California Black Walnut, and Coastal Scrub Oak. This, because these are "fire resistant"--but will they actually stop fires from spreading?

So what's the rationale behind this "protection"? Apparently it's nothing other than aesthetic. Owners' rights would be violated in the case of trees "clearly visible from public rights of way, private streets, parks, or trails". Does the planning commission realize that sometimes the line of sight is pretty far?

At least Public Works Commissioner Michael Stover "had concerns about which trees meet the criteria for visibility, stating that the government's regulatory reach was breathtaking." Absolutely. Good for him.

The ordinance would also require property owners to hire a certified arborist or tree trimmer to prune trees according to the standards of the International Society of Arboriculture.
Shades of supposedly beneficial building codes.

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