November 2, 2020 - Minutes (Special)

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City of Richmond Meeting Minutes

Special Council

Monday, November 2, 2020


Council Chambers
Richmond City Hall


Mayor Malcolm D. Brodie
Councillor Chak Au
Councillor Carol Day (by teleconference)
Councipllor Kelly Greene (by teleconference)
Councillor Alexa Loo
Councillor Bill McNulty (by teleconference)
Councillor Linda McPhail (by teleconference)
Councillor Harold Steves (by teleconference)
Councillor Michael Wolfe (by teleconference)

Corporate Officer – Claudia Jesson

Call to Order:

Mayor Brodie called the meeting to order at 4:02 p.m.









Appeal of Tree Removal Permit Refusal for 3260 Williams Road 
(File Ref. No.:12-8060-20-008057) (REDMS No. 6544203 v. 3)



James Cooper, Director, Building Approvals, provided background information and the following was noted:




this file is in relation to the refusal of a tree removal permit for one of four surviving coniferous trees on the subject property;




the Applicant hired a landscape contractor to trim a row of trees on his property in September 2018;




staff were alerted to damage to the row of trees and upon inspection, staff discovered that the trees had been damaged by over-trimming  / limbing and one tree was removed without authorization;




to date the remaining four trees have made great recovery and regained substantial growth; and




staff have refused the removal of the western red cedar tree (one of the four remaining trees that was over-trimmed) as it is healthy and structurally sufficient.



Nery Santos, Applicant / Owner, 3260 Williams Road, was of the opinion that the tree removal permit application submitted for the western red cedar tree (tag# 611) should have been issued as per his arborist’s report, which states that the tree is a hazard.  Mr. Santos queried why some trees were approved for removal (tags # 612, 613, and 615) while others were not (tags # 609, 610, 611, 614, and 615).



He stated that he was not home when his landscape contractor over-trimmed a row of trees and removed a tree without City authorization. Mr. Santos remarked that he was given verbal permission to trim his trees up to 25 feet.



With regard to his arborist’s report, Mr. Santos stated that in October 2018, he submitted the report which states that the western red cedar tree (tag #611) was excessively trimmed and not structurally sound and therefore, should be removed. 



He then commented on the proximity of the tree to his property’s drain tile, citing concern that the tree roots have potential to damage his drain tile; he referenced his submission from Bansal and Associates Consulting Engineers Inc., noting that tree roots should not be in line with structural elements including drain tiles.  Mr. Santos also cited concern with regard to the tree roots damaging the sanitary sewer pipe and remarked that the tree branches fall on his neighbour’s property, which is a safety hazard.



In reply to queries from Council, Mr. Cooper provided the following information:




the tree is more than 20 feet away from the house foundations and perimeter drainage, and thus the likelihood of causing damage to the drain is minimal;




the sanitary sewer pipe is a solid pipe that is not penetrable by tree roots;




the sanitary sewer pipe is 10 feet underground and conifers rely on a shallow root mat system;




following review of the Applicant’s 2018 arborist’s report, staff decided to reassess the remaining trees to allow one year of recovery time; in monitoring the trees over the course of the year, staff found that the over trimmed trees had recovered substantially and therefore only issued a fine for the 2018 illegal removal of the single tree; and




as part of the building approvals process for the construction of the home on the subject site, the conifers located at the back of the lot were identified to be retained; the trees that were permitted to be removed were either too close to the house or subordinate / living under larger tree canopies.



It was moved and seconded



That the decision to deny the removal of the subject tree that is healthy, structurally sufficient and has recovered from previous over-trimming on the property at 3260 Williams Road be upheld.









It was moved and seconded



That the meeting adjourn (4:17 p.m.).





Certified a true and correct copy of the Minutes of the Special meeting of the Council of the City of Richmond held on Monday, November 2, 2020.



Mayor (Malcolm D. Brodie)


Corporate Officer (Claudia Jesson)