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Letter to the editor: Cutting down trees for new development carries a heavy health cost

Original post made on Dec 19, 2022

Mountain View resident Daniel Shane makes a case that development contingent on cutting down trees along major highways and expressways bear costs that outweigh the benefits.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Sunday, December 18, 2022, 8:17 AM

Comments (9)

Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Dec 19, 2022 at 1:06 pm

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

Thank you for sharing this important information, Mr. Shane. It is scary how much damage can be caused in an alleged attempt to lower the cost of housing. And I would like to see DATA that quantifies how much rent is lowered, the benefit we should be garnering from accepting the increased health risks.

I like how you put it: "In some cases, the tradeoff is the increased rental income and profit for corporate developers and their shareholders from 10 to 20 additional dwelling units versus the long-term threat to public health for thousands of residents living near highways and expressways. This is a truly unacceptable tradeoff." Kind of makes me feel like I am living in Texas, not a progressive little suburb in California.

Posted by Another MV Resident
a resident of Willowgate
on Dec 19, 2022 at 2:32 pm

Another MV Resident is a registered user.

No one do anything until all the data from iron clad pre registered RCTs is published and reviewed through decades of the scientific process. Can’t be making any rash decisions.

Posted by Jon B
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Dec 19, 2022 at 3:52 pm

Jon B is a registered user.

City Council will do nothing. They won’t even make contractors protect the root zones or trunks of trees when old houses are torn down and mini-mansions are built. Go look at any residential job site and you’ll see material and equipment parked under trees, compacting the root zone, not to mention broken branches and damaged trunks. Many of these trees will die within a few years but Council is too busy being helpful to Google to do the simple things

Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Shoreline West
on Dec 19, 2022 at 4:35 pm

Neighbor is a registered user.

Thank you for alerting us to this situation. As you stated, it is absolutely unacceptable to increase health risks to increase profits.

Posted by Sean
a resident of Rex Manor
on Dec 19, 2022 at 7:41 pm

Sean is a registered user.

The more trees we cut down the more we move to dessert conditions, too hot in the summer, too cold in the winter, etc. Of course there are many other benefits of trees and many hazards if we destroy the canopy. One of the main things that make communities desirable places to live is the mature trees. Let’s not cut down so many trees that our community becomes an undesirable and unhealthy place to live.

Posted by ivg
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Dec 19, 2022 at 8:39 pm

ivg is a registered user.

Want to know something else that carries a heavy health cost? Making people commute from Tracy and Gilroy. Lots of towns along those highways don't have the kind of tree cover that Mr. Shane is describing. Don't support policies that export air pollution.

Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Dec 20, 2022 at 12:41 pm

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

Who exactly is "making people commute from Tracy and Gilroy"? Certainly not the residents of MV.

If a ton of Googlers are commuting in from these places (is this true? is there any data to support this? or is it only a talking point?), shame on Google for not growing jobs in those communities. The fault lies with Google, not MV residents.

And at least highly paid techies can afford to buy EVs, and thus not cause so much harm to the environment. That is not true for lower-income people, the ones who are truly in need of affordable housing. Those folks buy gas guzzlers and hunks of junk and whatever else they can find when THEY need to commute to work.

The truth is, we are not building enough AFFORDABLE housing for those who need to buy a gas guzzler in order to get to work. Over the last 8 year RHNA cycle, about 90% of all housing created in MV or in the pipeline was for the highest wage earners, those who earn > 120% of Area Median Income (even though they make up LESS THAN HALF of the population according to 2020 census data). Got that? Almost ALL of the housing being built is for rich wage earners, not poor ones. NOTHING has been done to change that situation going forward. NOTHING. Lower-income people need to commute to their jobs too, but this seems to be forgotten in most of the "put housing near jobs" discussions that I've seen.

Attempting to solve the climate crisis by cutting down trees in MV is absolutely absurd.

Posted by Gayle
a resident of Shoreline West
on Dec 21, 2022 at 10:07 am

Gayle is a registered user.

I am really displeased with our City Council over the past few years for giving developers the green light to cut down thousands of heritage trees. 57 on the perimeter of the 555 Middlefield Rd project alone. I cannot even see a purpose for clear cutting these trees. Are they impeding construction or adding units, or was this just merely an aesthetics choice? Shame on the Council.

Posted by A
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jan 2, 2023 at 5:22 pm

A is a registered user.

Thank-you, Mr. Shane, for posting this. You make some excellent points, and I couldn't agree more with your position. Our City Council needs to challenge developers to do more to protect our mature trees as they build new housing in our town. In the Monta Loma neighborhood where I live, many new luxury condos have been built in recent years -- which have replaced modest apartments. In addition, mature trees we had on our street were replaced by small trees and bushes once the new developments were finished. This is not a trade-off that improves the air quality or the aesthetics of the area. It does help the developers get what they want though. We must do better.

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