Marin County

Tiburon Officials, Residents Debate Removal of 42 Trees

Officials and residents of Tiburon, an upscale town in Marin County, were divided Tuesday night over the future of 42 trees.

A proposal to cut down the cluster of trees that can be seen on the drive into the town had heading to town hall to weigh in.

Arborist Duffy Hurwin said she and a group of neighbors want to spend $70,000 to cut down the trees on Tiburon's south knoll. Her arborist report says the pines and eucalyptus are dangerous.

"If they fall, I'm worried someone is going to get injured or about my neighborhood catching fire," Hurwin said.

Some agree that eucalyptus trees are a fire hazard and called widowmakers for a reason.

"The widowmakers come about because we lost loved ones because they were walking or standing under the tree," said Cris Jones of Greenbrae.

Town staff recalled a large limb falling on the bike path at the knoll in 2006. No one was hurt, but the threat was readily apparent.

Not everyone agreed with the proposal or assessment Tuesday and instead thought it was more important to keep nature intact.

"Preserve as many trees as possible," resident Terry Hennessy said. "Nature and trees are more important than views."

Neighbors on both sides were digging in Tuesday night.

"We should find some solution or resolution before it divides us," Hazel Caldwell said.

The Parks, Open Space and Trails Commission decided to study the proposal further, hoping to find a compromise.

Hurwin said she hopes the decision will change the landscape.

"If they are given the chance, we'll have a hillside full of oak trees," Hurwin said.

The commission subcommittee is expected to report back in a month.

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