By Jason KUROSU
The Crescenta Valley Town Council invited new and regular guests to its Thursday night meeting where they delved into how hazardous trees and signage issues could be managed in the area.
Instead of the usual report from the fire department, J. Lopez, assistant chief of the Forestry Division’s Natural Resources Section and Kelly Kim, Forestry assistant, discussed how hazardous trees are identified and what residents can do if there is a hazardous tree on their property.
Kim described hazardous trees as a tree that has “a defect which may cause it to fall.” These defects can be a result of disease or that a tree is simply too dry, which makes the tree more susceptible to fire. Trees that hang low into the street or interfere with utility lines and/or other structures are also considered hazardous trees. Poor maintenance or a lack of water or rainfall are common causes. Some of these issues can be resolved by the use of pesticides, soil injections or physical interceptions such as cabling or bracing of the tree.
Lopez said that property owners could contact their local fire station or the Forestry Division to inspect the tree in question. Lopez emphasized that they could not be called to inspect other residents’ trees or perform enforcement while visiting residences uninvited.
“We only do the inspection and analysis of the tree on the property whose property owner contacted us,” said Lopez. “We cannot be looking over the fence at other people’s trees. We’re not allowed to do that.”
“We don’t have authority to make people remove hazardous trees from their own property,” added Kim.
After contacting the local fire station, firefighters will visit a residence and determine if there is sufficient cause to issue a correction notice, should they believe the tree is a fire hazard. The fire department may turn the matter to county counsel for enforcement.
CV Town Council President Robbyn Battles said that materials regarding tree care would be posted on the town council website.
The council also welcomed Sandy Russell, the newest member of the GUSD board of education.
“It’s overwhelming and it’s fascinating,” said Russell regarding her appointment to the board.
The GUSD board recently approved projects to install camera systems at Hoover High School and Toll Middle School, a topic which was highlighted after the CV Sheriff’s report indicated that 11 lockers were broken into at Crescenta Valley High School over the last month.
“It’s my understanding that we are getting camera surveillance at all of our schools,” said Russell.
The Town Council’s Land Use Committee also passed a motion declaring that they would draft a letter to the county’s Code Enforcement Section regarding banners and signage along Foothill Boulevard.
Council member Cheryl Davis said that the Land Use Committee has received complaints about banners, flashing lights and other issues at businesses located on Foothill. As a result, the Land Use Committee will request that L.A. County send notifications of code violations to those Foothill businesses as well as inspect businesses regularly.
The letter will also request that members of the Code Enforcement Section attend a future town council meeting.
Specifically regarding banners, Davis said, “I’ve been asked to clarify that all banners are prohibited in the unincorporated areas of L.A. County.” This applies to all public property, but Davis spoke primarily to “the Foothill corridor that is governed by the Community Standards District code.”
“You don’t need 15 banners on your building to run your business,” said Battles. “It defeats the purpose of what the CSD was put in place for. We don’t want to be anti-business. But I think that businesses and residents need to get along to be able to appreciate the beauty of what the boulevard should be.”
The board concluded the meeting by discussing the details of the recent CVTC election, which saw Desiree Rabinov, Leslie Dickson and Mariam Barnes elected as three-year term members. Lisa Griffin, Kevin Kang and Charles Beatty were elected as alternates. 164 ballots were cast with 147 of those walk-in votes along with 17 absentee ballots.
The turnout for the election was low and council members suggested that the perception was that this election was an uncontested one, as there were six candidates filling six spots, with only the three-year regular member status to be determined. However, according to Davis, only five votes separated the final three-year term candidate and the first one-year alternate candidate. Battles said that the council will be exploring the option of voting by computer in the future.
The new council members will be sworn in next month.