UPDATE: Moreton Bay Fig gets a reprieve

Posted by on Nov 22nd, 2010 and filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Community member Richard Toyon speaks with property owner Jinny Nam about saving the Morton Bay Fig tree in the 2600 block of Foothill Boulevard.

By Brandon HENSLEY

After a rain-soaked protest, the owner of the New Star Realty property has said what’s left of the Moreton Bay Fig Tree will stand.

Jenny Nam, the owner of the property on which the tree stands, told members of the Crescenta Valley Town Council, the Historical Society of Crescenta Valley and concerned citizens on the site Saturday afternoon that she will make sure no more cutting of the tree will happen.

Steve Pierce of the CV Chamber of Commerce asked her, “Will you please ensure that the workers that come in understand that this tree is not to be touched any further? … Do we have your word on that?”

“Yes,” replied Nam, who recently purchased the realty building. She said she will still cut other trees on her property, but as for the Morton Bay Fig, “This one will stay.”

It has been a trying couple of days for the tree, which is over 100 years old, and its supporters. Earlier this week, Los Angeles County officials told Nam that it was okay to cut down the tree, and late Friday afternoon the hacking  started.

Protesters were on the site, the 2600 block of Foothill Boulevard, in the rain Saturday morning. Over 60 came, holding signs that read “Save Our Tree,” as cars passed and honked their horns.

The lot next to New Star Realty – formerly Plumb Crazy – had previously been a controversial site, as developers said construction on an underground parking lot would mean cutting the tree’s roots, almost certainly killing it. After protests and meetings with the CVTC, ways were discussed to save the tree.

Wayne Yee, who represents Nam, was there to talk to CVTC members, including Charles Beatty and President Cheryl Davis. Members in the group told Yee that several arborists have been consulted and said the tree can survive.

“My concern is safety more than anything, of the property and of the public. Everyone is going to take all of those things into consideration in order to accommodate everyone,” Yee said.

Former councilmember Richard Toyon was there and said the tree will “bounce back.”

“The tree is just important to the community, and I also think the tree is important to your business as well,” Toyon told Yee. Toyon also said that Nam seemed understanding.

Glendale City Councilmember and La Crescenta resident John Drayman attended the protest to lend his support of the tree.

“This is a community issue, not a boundary issue, and it just shouldn’t have happened,” he said. “This is a breathtaking example of a business wanting to move into a community, become part of the community and then immediately change the historic icons that represent the community.”

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