The removal of two mature ficus trees in front of Hamburger Hamlet this morning at approximately 4:45 am makes us wonder why indeed these trees were taken down under the cover of darkness? Certainly the ficus trees that line Larchmont Blvd. are known for their unwieldy root systems that cause erratic sidewalks, but they also harbor whole flocks of birds and provide a uniform street canopy that gives Larchmont much of its charm.
Shutterbug Greg Siragusa snapped the nighttime photo, and the Buzz followed up this morning with phone calls to LA City Bureau of Street Services. Evidently there were several requests for the two trees at 215-219 N Larchmont to be removed, and the removal permit was issued in May 2012. Speaking with Ron Tull of the Urban Forestry section of Street Services, we learned that the trees were deemed to be causing a hazard and the sidewalks need to be fixed. In the past, the roots of ficus trees were often trimmed, and sidewalks replaced. Tull told the Buzz however, that they deemed the trees would be unsafe if their roots shaved. He also noted that whereas there used to be a City department that could do this shaving and concrete repair, the department no longer exists and so this more drastic solution had to be taken.
We can only surmise that the two trees were quickly removed during the wee hours of morning as there would have been some public outcry at seeing them taken down. The removal and repair and replacement costs are all born by the property owner. A new small sapling of another variety has been planted in one of the spots. The other spot is barren.
We find the tree removal disturbing as this could set a precedent for other businesses on the boulevard. We’d hate to see this as the beginning of the demise of our lovely Larchmont canopy. There are currently requests for removal of other ficus trees on the 100 South, 330 North and 400 North blocks of Larchmont. Should the community get more involved in finding solutions that will preserve the trees, or define what the next street trees should be? Weigh in below and “Leave a Reply” to share your comments.
About Julie Grist
Julie co-founded the Larchmont Buzz with fellow buzzer Mary Hawley in 2011 and served as Editor, Publisher and writer for the hive for many years until the sale of the Buzz in August 2015. She is still circling the hive as an occasional writer.
10 thoughts on “Trees Removed on Larchmont”
Im glad at least a few of these are being removed. About 15 years ago my mom walked into a raised piece of curb between jamba and Starbucks and damaged a nerve in her foot. She’s been in constant pain since then, relying on pain pills and shots and she cannot walk long distances without hurting. So good riddance!
I agree! Why does everyone assume the worst when a tree comes down! It could have been diseased or old as ours was—and a hazard if it fell on a pedestrian! Then you would have had a real story.
Don’t stir up controversy!!
Just trying to stimulate the conversation. If we talk about these things as a community, we can hopefully come up with better solutions for the future. To talk about it isn’t controversial – it’s conversation that can have positive impact for the Boulevard, we hope:)
Boo hoo! I do understand removing the one on the left — during the farmer’s market especially, that area was a bit a mess with strollers and such battling through the broken sidewalk and roots, and I think anyone who’s lived here awhile has tripped over that one at some point. But the one on the right didn’t seem to be doing any harm. Your before and after photos highlight how much better things look with trees!
The community needs to move fast and carefully to choose a new tree tree if ficus trees are taken down. A mish mosh of trees along the boulevard would be an ugly mess, but a beautiful California native tree, repeated along the avenue, would be smart and beautiful design, as any expert in landscape design can confirm and as the most outstanding blocks in our neighborhood attest.
Well, I’ve tripped over those trees over an over in my 25 years in the neighborhood, and guess what: that still doesn’t mean I agree with them being chopped down in the dead of night (always a sign that someone knows that what they are up to is wrong). There should be a moratorium on tree removal until a community based solution is proposed. The idea that the individual Larchmont businesses are now allowed to take out trees is an outrage, without a plan to replace them with something that will work for the street and the rest of the community. Do we really want Mr. Mizrahi (or other Larchmont landlords) designing the street?
I’m sure there are liability issues with the problems with the roots, but it cannot be solved the way it was this week.
We’re checking on the plan. We know the building owners are really trying to protect the community (and themselves, understandably) against the negative impact those roots can have. Ultimately, it would be great to know – what’s next?
Isn’t there a BID in Larchmont? Shouldn’t coming up with a great plan for trees be a natural responsibility and desire of the BID? And if there is a BID why not a community meeting where they present their ideas for the improvement and beautification of the street with better trees over time?
If every property owner acts on their own, the end result will not be so wonderful.
Yes! In fact, we’ll have more on the story in a day or so…
I don’t believe that the tree roots couldn’t be shaved and the sidewalk repaired. I think if the city couldn’t afford to do it, our community should have been given the opportunity to raise the money to do so. Mature trees provide shade, make our neighborhood special and increase property values. It’s upsetting to see the “after” picture without the trees. Shame on the property owner for defiling our boulevard.