In a hearing this morning, Superior Court Judge Ann Jones rejected Treesavers’ contention that the City of Santa Monica should be barred from removing 50-plus trees from Second and Fourth Streets in downtown Santa Monica.
Treesavers, a group of Santa Monica residents, has been fighting to save the trees since the City Council approved their removal, as part of An $8.2 million downtown “improvement” plan several months ago.
Over 2,000 residents have signed petitions opposing the City’s plan To take the trees out.
The group’s attorney, Tom Nitti, secured a restraining order on the eve of the trees’ scheduled removal last fall, blocking it. Subsequently, the group applied for landmark status, which would have mandated the trees’ preservation. When the application was denied, Treesavers appealed the decision, but the Council denied the appeal last week, setting the stage for today’s hearing.
Though the Judge agreed with Nitti’s charge that the City had erred in exempting the trees from environmental review, she ruled that the error had come to light too late.
In the wake of the court ruling, Treesvers’ spokesman, Jerry Rubin, Said that he has asked Mayor Herb Katz and City Manager Lamont Ewell to schedule a community “town hall” to discuss the issue. In the meantime, he said John Quigley will continue ro hold workshops on nonviolent demonstrations, and Treesavers will stage a sit-in in the City Hall lobby next Wednesday afternoon.