Clearing up statement inaccuracies on tree mitigation plan

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I read your recent article entitled "Controversial tree plan approved, appealed" reporting on the recent Town Planning Commission Workshop and Hearing on the Oak Mitigation and Monitoring Plan for Sierra de Montserrat. There were a few statements by individuals quoted that I believe to be inaccurate or that mischaracterize some components of the plan. Consequently, I feel compelled to correct and/or clarify those statements. The first point of correction is that Councilman Walt Scherer's stated reason for his appeal of the Planning Commission's decision is wrong. Contrary to Mr. Scherer’s statement, the Plan does not require nor result in the expenditure of Town funds. In preparing this oak mitigation plan in compliance with Loomis’s existing native tree protection ordinance, we worked with the developer and the conservation easement steward to ensure that no costs were passed on to the Town. This particular question (How much is the Plan going to cost the Town?) was asked and answered twice during the public workshop and hearing. Gary Liss is quoted as being concerned that the Town would be losing out on "dollars" with the approved Plan. His concern is misplaced. His question presumes that the preferred mitigation approach should be paying an “in-lieu fee” to the Town for each inch (dbh) of oak removed. The Town's existing oak tree ordinance prioritizes tree planting on the project site over the payment of in-lieu fees. This priority is consistent with many municipalities today that struggle to find suitable land available upon which to plant, monitor, and maintain oak trees with the monies received as in-lieu fees. Moreover, if the Plan had not been approved by the Town Planning Commission, the project would mitigate for the lost trees by planting oaks on the project site, rather than paying in-lieu fees to the Town. For this reason, the Town is not missing out on the payment of "thousands of dollars of tree-cutting mitigation fees.” In contrast to the above statements, Roger Smith is accurate in his statement that the Plan protects the existing oak woodlands on the project site and includes protections for tree species other than oaks. This is consistent with the evolving thought surrounding appropriate and effective mitigation for impacts to oaks. Today, the more enlightened view is to recognize that the value of the woodland as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts, the individual trees. I will end this letter by thanking you for citing the Town's arborist, Ken Menzer, with a quote from the staff report on the plan that sums up our approach to the oak mitigation for Montserrat: "The staff report stated his approval was 'based on the concept that has been evolving within the State, that oak woodlands management is a better long-term overall strategy than simply receiving in-lieu funds ... because generally much of the replanting is not occurring and retaining good quality, connected woodlands is better than replanting in inappropriate or dissimilar areas.’” Riley Swift, President Restoration Resources Rocklin