Community Community News Rancho Santa Fe

Tree trimming inspections underway in the Ranch

RANCHO SANTA FE — At a recent RSF Board of Director’s meeting, staff advised the board and the members present regarding the upcoming tree trimming process, which would be taking place in the Ranch.

Ivan Holler, acting manager, said from time to time, the Association does hear from members who are not pleased with the trimming results.  Holler went on to say that the tree trimming is in an effort to provide clearance around SDG&E power lines.

“I wanted to just take a minute to let everyone know that if someone contacts us in advance that we do work with SDG&E and with the property owner,” he said, adding how that’s been successful.

Holler then introduced their field operations manager, Arnold Keene, to provide further updates.

Keene started off by saying that this is an item, which keeps them very busy.

The SDG&E pre-inspection process would begin this month.  All the trees in the Ranch are cataloged.

“They (SDG&E) will evaluate them for trimming or removal, as they do every year.  And that inspection process lasts about three months,” he said.

Following this, a tree service comes in to do the trimming.

“Sometimes I hate to call it that because they unfortunately end up with some trees that look disfigured, and that’s been the challenge, trying to come up with a way for them to meet their mandate which is pretty strict,” Keene said.  “And it’s the law, but yet we want to end up with a community that doesn’t have a bunch of disfigured trees.”

Keene explained the challenge lies with the fact that its eucalyptus and palm trees are planted under high voltage wires.  Keene said that last year, the tree trimmers got very aggressive and the Association received some complaints.

Keene told the board that this law, established back in the 1990s, was the direct result of electrocutions, and also fires, when trees fell on wires.  SDG&E must have a specific clearance of trees from these wires.

Nevertheless, staff is working closely with the utility company.  Keene commented that he believed SDG&E was giving them more attention than most communities which was nice.

The plan is to organize a meeting with SDG&E, go out to the site(s) with SDG&E and tree trimming representatives and arrive with the best solutions.

“Sometimes SDG&E is flexible but sometimes they are very firm about it, but, we do try to work with them.  And I think we’ve done a lot better,” he said. “I think we’re at the point where we need to look at some removals where trees have just been continually cut down.”

Keene also wanted the board to know that the tree trimming company would be available to have a presentation with them, while the board and members could learn more about their background.

Keene said the company was very educated in their line of work.

Board member, Jerry Yahr, said because new residents are continually moving into the Ranch, how it might be a positive move to put a news article together on this topic for the local papers.

“So if you see the SDG&E folks out in your neighborhood, here’s why they do it,” said Yahr, offering a starting point.  “I don’t think the majority of people that have contacted you think it’s the Association that’s coming out and trimming these trees so just a little more education might be helpful.”

The board agreed with Yahr’s suggestion and provided their input regarding an upcoming media announcement.