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Thursday, June 9, 2011

'Emeryville Properties 2' Says They Owe Nothing for Illegal Cutting of Street Trees

Will Corporations In Emeryville Be Held Accountable?
Business Appeals Fine For Illegally Cutting Emeryville's Trees

Rick Gerow of Emeryville Properties 2, a Lafayette California based real estate corporation, has thrown down the gauntlet; he should not have to pay a penny for having illegally cut three large city owned street trees in front of his building at 1259 Park Avenue and he has filed an appeal to the city to that effect.
In a May 20th letter to the city, Mr Gerow stated he was "not aware" of the 2003 Emeryville Tree Ordinance and that it was the city's responsibility to notify him that permission must be granted for anyone to cut down the street trees.

Rick Gerow: Says ignorance
of the law means you get off
scot free.
After Emeryville Properties 2, a subsidiary of Gerow Properties Inc was notified of the violation of the tree ordinance, Mr Gerow submitted that the three trees in question should have been cut down anyway and that the fine should therefore be zero.  The May 20th letter states that one of the trees he cut down was dead already and that a second had a major limb that had fallen and the third was causing the sidewalk to lift "about two inches" and these conditions mean the trees value is zero.  
Further, Mr Gerow says he is not responsible for any associated fees including the arborist report.  The city's arborist disagrees and has placed the three trees value at $4600.  With the penalty fine and other associated fees, the city is owed $14,100.

Mr Gerow indicated he has already replaced two of the cut trees with saplings and is willing to replant the third one.  The city's arborist has indicated that the replanting job Mr Gerow did is substandard and that the trees will subsequently not grow to their proper size.  The city maintains that a proper job must be done replacing the three trees and part of the fine imposed is meant to recover these replanting costs.

If the appeal is denied, it will mark the among first time the tree ordinance has been successfully implimented and imposed a fine on an illegal tree cutter.

The city council voted to strengthen the ordinance in May 2010 after citizens complained the ordinance was too lax and let illegal tree cutters off the hook without imposing any fine.  The complaining citizens posited that a penalty fine, as was enacted in 2010, would add sufficient deterrence to would be future illegal tree cutters.  Apparently, not enough for Mr Gerow.

Please read the precursor story to this in the March 10th edition of the Tattler.

Emeryville Properties 2 Inc will make their appeal at the June 21 council meeting.


  1. If this were Portland Oregon, he'd be shot.

  2. Saplings, in this case, do not a tree make.

    It gets quite tiresome that the rich and entitled get away with so much. The trees should be replaced with mature trees and the fines should be paid.

    Will E-ville follow through--highly unlikely?

    The tree ordinance was strengthened for a reason. Prior to this ordinance the removal of all the trees and bushes on the north side of Powell, west of 2000 block, was an example of such behavior. The culprits did not get so much as a slap on the wrist, nor required to replace the trees or bushes. It was business as usual. MS

  3. i don't know why they are picking on an individual such as mr. gerow. did they go after the glashaus for cutting down all the trees on 65th street? and if they were liquid amber trees, so much the better. former dept of public works director hank van dyke had a fondness for liquid amber and had them planted all over e-ville, all along park avenue in front of pixar and on 40th st.; even in front of my house without asking me. these trees are notorious for shallow roots that break up the sidewalks. before he "retired" he told me verbally that if this happened, he would take out the tree at the city's expense.

  4. Come on guys, he "didn't know". We all know that you're completely excused from something if you're ignorant of it

  5. "I didn't know", I gotta try that one myself. "But officer, I didn't know I wasn't supposed to steal". How do ya think this'll work out?

  6. They'll let him off.
    Just watch, it wont stick.