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Ocean Beach residents upset over City of San Diego's removal of palm trees

Posted at 12:13 PM, Apr 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-25 15:13:20-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – Some Ocean Beach residents voiced their displeasure towards City of San Diego crews as they removed several palm trees on Newport Avenue Monday morning.

Residents who live on the street woke up Monday to a notice from the city informing them that the trees were coming down.

Tracy Van De Walker, who has spearheaded the effort to protect the palm trees, said, “I’ve shed quite a few tears this morning. It’s hard because it’s 110 years that’s gone in five seconds. And it’s a shame that there’s no recourse on it at this point.”

Since last year, residents have been fighting to keep the palm trees where they area. The city said they had to come down due to safety concerns that could impact instruments on airplanes or at San Diego International Airport, adding the issues could possibly lead to flights needed to be rerouted.

According to Van De Walker, the lawyer representing the residents had filed a lawsuit seeking to keep the city from cutting the trees down.

A court hearing on the matter is scheduled for this summer.

ABC 10News reached out to the city, and a spokesperson said they received a letter from the FAA and San Diego airport officials citing these specific trees must be cut by the end of the week or else airport operations would be affected.

City of San Diego Senior Public Information officer Anthony Santacroce issued the following statement Monday:

“The City of San Diego removed five palms on Newport Avenue this morning at the direction of the FAA and the San Diego Airport Authority. The trees removed today presented an urgent threat to flight paths and aviation operations that impact public safety and economic health of San Diego. We understand the community’s concern and thank them for their passion and understanding. With the help of the surrounding community, the City looks forward to planting new trees in place of the former palms that will continue to provide environmental benefits for years to come.”