RANCHO SANTA FE — The thought of removing 54 queen palm trees for new landscaping at the entrance of Whispering Palms has triggered some opposition from a group of community members. One of which is Richard Cavanaugh, the original developer of Whispering Palms. In the 1960s, Cavanaugh made the decision to plant those palm trees.
In an attempt to keep the trees, Cavanaugh formed a grassroots campaign named KeepOurPalms.org. Cavanaugh hired Margolin & Associates, a public relations firm based in Solana Beach to help raise awareness on the issue.
A petition to keep the trees circulated, resulting in an estimated 100 resident signatures who are hoping that the Whispering Palms Community Services District (CSD) will reconsider the removal.
For now, the elimination of the trees has been shelved until the results from that survey are in.
In August, at the Morgan Run Clubhouse, a meeting took place regarding this topic. Due to the community feedback, the CSD decided to mail out a community-wide survey on whether or not the residents wanted to keep the current palm trees.
According to Lisa Margolin-Feher, a principal at Margolin & Associates, over the last three years the CSD has stated on the record numerous times their plans of implementing new landscaping for entry medians.
“Of the five elected members, one member, Bill Haynor, has voted consistently to oppose the plan,” Margolin-Feher said.
The CSD meets on the second Tuesday of every month at the Morgan Club Clubhouse. It was at their March 2016 board meeting when the CSD presented three new landscape designs. The bid to remove the 54 palms trees and create new landscaping including king palms was $339,000.
“All three landscaping options included the removal of the 54 queen palms — the community was not given the option of saving the palm trees,” Margolin-Feher said.
Since that time, Margolin & Associates has created an awareness campaign as well as encouraging members of the community to participate in future CSD meetings to share their viewpoints on the matter.
“Additionally, we are very pleased that the issue will come to a public vote, especially because three of the CSD board seats are open for reelection in November,” she said. “It would be a travesty to remove these beautiful trees, only to have some of the board members who voted to cut them down leave office a month later.”