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Costa Mesa tree-planting project has some residents unhappy

August 5, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Costa Mesa is planting 650 trees for free around the city, including in residents' yards.

The city was given $100,000 this year through a federally funded community development block grant to beautify public easements and right-of-ways.

By the end of the four-week project, contractors will have planted the trees in middle- to low-income neighborhoods.

But after planting 400 trees, some residents were upset that they were not notified beforehand.

Resident Dave Theis didn't ask the city for a tree. But on Tuesday morning - without warning - one appeared on the edge of his lawn.

"They were just plopping trees on everybody's lawn," he said.

Theis said the last time the city planted a tree, it ended up costing him big.

"We had a previous city tree and it broke our drain to the main street and they wanted us to replace the drain at their cost - their tree. So it's kind of like icing on the cake when we saw the next tree," Theis said.

The city halted its project and hand delivered letters to the rest of the neighbors.

"So of them didn't want the tree, some wanted it but wanted it moved, or wanted a choice, so it's kind of a mix," said Bruce Hartley, a city maintenance service manager.

The city says it will work with residents and has even removed a few trees.

Still, Theis wonders why his neighborhood was picked for the project.

"There are plenty of trees on each property, so there is plenty of growth going on so it's kind of ridiculous," he said.

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