City trims $347,600 fine for pruning

first_imgGLENDALE – City government has rescinded a $347,600 fine it levied on a local couple for pruning 13 trees around their home and is looking to change the city’s indigenous tree law on which the costly fine was based, officials said. Homeowners Michael and Ann Collard of Whiting Woods Road broke the law when they pruned the 13 trees, city officials had said. Pricey fines against the Collards and a half-dozen other homeowners were arrived at through a formula in an ordinance the City Council is scheduled to discuss on Dec. 18 with a view toward change. The ordinance protects oaks, sycamores and bay laurels that are native to the region. Fines under the ordinance were increased earlier this year because developers had been cutting down trees and paying the fine routinely as just another business cost, officials said. City officials had asked John Oppenheim, another homeowner, to pay $170,000 for destroying trees on his property, said Bob McFall, assistant city manager. But the Oppenheim case and others have been put on hold while the city re-examines its indigenous tree ordinance, Howard said. Unlike the trees that the Collards pruned, the trees on Oppenheim’s property were destroyed, McFall said. “It seems unlikely that he would end up paying $170,000,” McFall said. “But again, the facts in that case seem to be significantly different from the facts in the Collards’ case.” [email protected] 818-546-3304160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREPettersson scores another winner, Canucks beat KingsIn the case of the Collards, the city attorney says he will not pursue either a civil penalty or a criminal action. “We are not seeking any civil penalty,” said City Attorney Scott Howard. “That means not only no $347,000. That means no $100,000. That means no $20,000, no $10,000.” What it means, Howard said, is that he plans to have a meeting with the Collards and their attorney before the end of the year to talk about how and why the trees were pruned. Howard said he does not know what to expect from the meeting. In the past, similar meetings have resulted in anything from a case being closed to a fine of $250. “We are cautiously optimistic. We still have to have a sit-down with the city attorney, and so I think once we do that, we will throw the (celebration) party,” said Ann Collard, 35. “This is definitely good news, and it feels like things are moving in the right direction.” last_img

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