Sherman Oaks residents angry over removal of decades-old trees

SHERMAN OAKS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Some residents of a Sherman Oaks neighborhood are mad that trees that for decades have provided shade to homes on Sunnyslope Avenue were cut down over the weekend.

In all, 11 were chopped down on the west side of the street.

Bob Holmes has lived in this neighborhood for more than 35 years. He's one of the residents who protested, asking the city not to cut down the trees. The one in front of his house was spared because he's maintained it over the years.

He says "to see them all go in such a large number and to feel the heat right now. It's just heartbreaking."

City crews were back Monday removing stumps and debris left from this weekend's tree removal.

Residents say the live trees were cut down for fire prevention and so the city can comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act because the 11 removed trees had damaged the sidewalks.

Jacky Surber, with the group Angelenos 4 Trees, says "they can repair the sidewalk and save the trees. Santa Monica only took out three trees last year. In the whole year we have it charted where they (Los Angeles) took out over 1,000 trees."

The office of Los Angeles City Councilman David Ryu, who represents this area, said in a written statement to Eyewitness News:

"In order to make our sidewalks ADA compliant and provide equal access to all Angelenos, repairs involving the removal of some trees were required to fix the broken sidewalks on Sunnyslope Avenue. Councilmember Ryu is committed to strengthening our City's tree policies and growing our urban canopy, including his motion to improve the City's street tree replacement policy."

New trees are scheduled to be planted later this fall or early next year.

One resident told Eyewitness News she wonders how much her electricity bill will be now that the tree that provided shade for decades is gone.
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