[Fosc] Fw: Quick email for another 150 heritage oaks at risk, this time in Mountain View Cemetery

Marilyn Miller via Fosc fosc at lists.sausalcreek.org
Mon Aug 1 15:24:42 PDT 2016

forwarding...to tree lovers all....

I know you all love oaks, so I'm writing to tell you about more oaks threatened with destruction here in Oakland.  This time the oaks are on private property, in the historic Mountain View Cemetery located in North Oakland (adjacent to Piedmont).  

The managers of the cemetery want to increase dramatically the number of plots for sale, but they don't want to make an effort to save the mature oaks (or even the shrubs) that support wildlife and make the cemetery a beautiful, peaceful, and natural place to walk and contemplate.  They want to remove all the plants that might interfere with the view and regrade the land.

The current plan calls for removal of at least 222 trees, and possibly over 300 trees - mostly oaks, but a couple dozen of other species. Of those trees we know about for sure, many dozens of oaks are very large grandfather/grandmother trees.  The birds (and other wildlife) use them extensively, especially winter migrants (over 35 species seen regularly during the Christmas bird counts), plus the dozen or so species that are seen this time of year.

The Mountain View Cemetery was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, a renowned architect known for incorporating nature into his work.  From the wiki article on him:  "He was an early and important activist in the conservation movement, including work at Niagara Falls, the Adirondack region of upstate New York, and the National Park system."  I'm sure he'd want the caretakers of this cemetery to respect nature as much as possible when adding new plots.

The City of Oakland Planning Commission is considering the draft EIR for approval, and if they get 20 to 40 letters from concerned Oakland residents, it could make a real difference in getting them to ask that a better plan be made to preserve these heritage oaks.   

The letter is due tomorrow at 5 pm (sorry for such short notice), and Judy Schwartz has written a sample letter below that you can use or change as you see fit.  

Please consider sending an email and passing this on to any other Oakland residents who care about our trees.



Please email your letter to Catherine Payne, Oakland City Planner, and CC the Oakland City Planning Commissioners and the CNPS conservation analyst, and sign your name at the end.

To:cpayne at oaklandnet.com
Subject line of email:  ER15-001
CC:pattillo at pgadesign.com
amandamonchamp at gmail.comcmanusopc@gmail.comnagrajplanning at gmail.comjmoore.ocpc@gmail.comjmyres.oakplanningcommission at gmail.com  EW.Oakland at gmail.com  
conservation at ebcnps.org

Dear Ms. Payne, 

I am concerned by the Mountain View Cemetery's plan to develop an area of their property, the top hillside, where native live oak trees have lived for thousands of years.  The plan would remove over 150 oak trees, including many huge, majestic trees that sustain birds and wildlife.  These would be replaced by a large green lawn and other non-native plants. 

Oakland residents and others in the Bay Area like me who love oak trees are concerned about escalating losses of oaks, a tree that is symbolic of this great city.  We are counting on you to take actions that will limit the loss of these trees.  I am also concerned about the lack of vision apparent in this plan, which relies on an old model of "what people want" when it comes to grave sites.  Shouldn't the city insist that Mountain View Cemetery create a plan that will be more water-wise?  

Those who visit the grave sites, those who purchase plots now and in the future, and all residents of Oakland and surrounding areas will be grateful to you if you can take a more forward-looking approach, and insist that the cemetery retain native flora, save habitat for the local wildlife and birds, and use drought tolerant plants like live oaks that require no supplemental water.  The cemetery will broaden its appeal to current and future generations with a greener, more sustainable approach.

It is my understanding that there may not have been adequate notice given to neighbors about this important issue.  Please consider an extension of the comment period, to allow all voices to be heard.
Thank you for considering my comments.  Please keep me informed about your actions on this matter.


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