Billboard company's contractors illegally cut ad-blocking trees in Silver Lake

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Silver Lake residents are outraged after a billboard company chopped down trees for a better view of the ad. (KABC)

Silver Lake residents are outraged after a billboard company chopped down trees that were blocking the view of an ad.

Sunset Boulevard through Silver Lake is littered with storefronts, signs and traffic - but trees are not as abundant. Residents say that's what makes Sunset Triangle Plaza such a nice oasis.

"I love it. It's more of a community center for the people to enjoy the farmer's market here and also great food and the beautiful weather," said Christian Beck of Hollywood.

But some of the shade-throwing trees here apparently cast too much shade on a billboard owned by Outfront Media.

Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch O'Farrell says that prompted the billboard company to illegally carve out a clear view of its panel.

"A subcontractor of theirs trimmed the trees with no permit, and that is not only a violation, but it is an act of vandalism," O'Farrell said.

The hack job happened in the days between Christmas and New Years. O'Farrell said three of the trees are so badly damaged that they'll have to be replaced. Six others will take years to return to their former shady selves.

"It couldn't be more wrong to do that. In fact, I think it's a bit criminal to do that in such a beautiful place where old people enjoy the trees," said Camila Mourenca of Glendale.

"It's stimulating a little to have some trees instead of just billboards," said Robert Gavin of Silver Lake.

Eyewitness News contacted Outfront Media for comment but have not heard back from the company.

O'Farrell said Outfront already owned up to cutting the trees and fired the crew that did it. The councilman is hoping to make it harder for billboard companies to damage city-owned trees.

"My motion today that I introduced will seek to create a policy that will strongly discourage this from ever happening again, because it happens across the city," O'Farrell said.

O'Farrell said Outfront Media has agreed to replace the three badly damaged trees. The company faces a fine of up to $1,000.
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