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Vets Hall trees coming down soon

Original post made on Jan 11, 2010

Trees at the Veterans Memorial Building on Hartz Avenue at Prospect in downtown Danville will be removed this month, say Town officials, although work to renovate the historic building will not begin until June. There is a window between February and the end of September when raptors are nesting in the trees so the trees must be removed before then.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Sunday, January 10, 2010, 7:10 PM

Comments (29)

Posted by Glorya Anderson Weber
a resident of Alamo
on Jan 11, 2010 at 7:41 am

The first time my husband & I drove through Danville 12 years ago, on a house hunting trip from Boston) we fell in love with the majestic trees bordering the Veteran's hall. I've always thought of them as a wonderful way to honor our veterans: STRONG, PRTOTECTION for resident from rain & the hot sun, a safe haven for native birds, and as Historical Heritage trees (may not be technically accurate, but that is the impression these wonderful trees give) .

The maginficant trees give the town character & uplift spirits of people passing by. And, they provide a safe haven border around the Veteran's hall.

I can't imagine the small amount of space for indoor activities to be gained at the trees' expense is worth sacrificing those wonderful trees. Is it not possible for the talented architects to find find another solution?

Posted by Marie
a resident of Danville
on Jan 11, 2010 at 9:00 am

It might be better to take down only the deseased trees. I go down Diablo almost every day,& the prettiest thing about the street is the little grove of trees. Not many towns have groves of trees, especially Redwoods.I'm sad already, & the work hasn't started yet.

Posted by Karla
a resident of Danville
on Jan 11, 2010 at 9:18 am

I have been wondering why doesn't Danville just close Prospect to traffic. The corner of Prospect and Hartz is a nightmare. The Vets Hall could expand in a meaningful way. The town could have a beautiful closed walking mall, while leaving traffic open on Hartz and Front.

All traffic crossing Hartz would be at a light for the most part. Making the downtown safe for Vets and other seniors to actually get around.

Just a thought

Posted by spcwt
a resident of Danville
on Jan 11, 2010 at 10:10 am

Remember when builders said they had to remove a 400 year old oak tree in order to build the Tiffany's building in Walnut Creek? There was no other way, they said. But when residents pushed back, remarkably they found a way to build it around the tree. And now that tree provides character to a beautiful, peaceful nook in the center of town.

Obviously, these trees have less significance than that oak, but still sad to see them go.

Too often, decisions are made based on economics rather than aesthetics.

Posted by Christina
a resident of Danville
on Jan 11, 2010 at 11:29 am

I totally agree with Glorya and spcwt. Danville is such a special place. It's worth it to work hard to keep it special and not let it become like everywhere else w/parking lots and looming concrete McMansion type buildings. Danville is so unique compared to other east bay suburban towns, mostly because of it's village/main street usa type of character. Old trees are so special and rare. Why do you think one reason Carmel is so special?? The town council is often critisized, but there are no neon signs, fast-food restaurants and lots of beautiful old trees. This would never happen there! Trees there are revered and it practically takes an act of war to get approval to cut one down. The Walnut Creek example is a good one as well. Once the trees are gone from the corner of Prospect, don't you think you'll be sorry? There's got to be a way to design around the trees. Look what efforts Danville has made to keep the "Danville Tree" on Diablo going -- and how worth it it is. Carmel builds around trees all the time, with many of them remaining in the middle of the road. Too bad there isn't more activism here. I wish there were those willing to stage a protest and prevent this from happening.

Posted by barbara
a resident of Danville
on Jan 11, 2010 at 12:05 pm

my original feeling was "the large trees must stay, no matter what problems or expense."

however, i have come to realize that i do not have the ability to change the decision that has been made by the Town.

the current trees provide enormous amounts of shade and protection to those of us who work at or attend the many special events in the Town. therefore - my concern has now changed to the type and size of trees that will replace the stately ones that are currently on the site. please help me by contacting the design review board (on the Town of Danville web site) and request that they replace the old trees with ones that will give the same amount of shade to the surrounding area. this shade makes it possible to have protection from the elements during both hot summer nights and cold winter evenings.

please - contact the design review board. they will be having a meeting soon on the topic of the trees and all of us who can be there will be heard.

thank you.

Posted by TL Nelson
a resident of Danville
on Jan 11, 2010 at 1:26 pm

This is an awful decision. These trees are part of what makes Danville a special place. I am begging that you do not cut down these trees ... instead, go back to the drawing board and consider other options. If you really need a larger Veterans Hall ... what about building it on another site and leaving the current building as is? Whatever you do, do not cut down those trees.... this would be the worst of all possible outcomes.

Posted by Dianne
a resident of Danville
on Jan 11, 2010 at 1:30 pm

I can't imagine our town without those lovely trees. Please keep the healthy ones. It would take many years to have new trees that are nearly as majestic!

Posted by Bob K
a resident of Danville
on Jan 11, 2010 at 2:38 pm

Free Firewood?

Posted by djm
a resident of Danville
on Jan 11, 2010 at 2:46 pm

I'm disappointed that the trees will be removed to make way for a modern glass and concrete structure. The trees and current Veterans Hall building really add character and charm to Danville. I really hope the council does not lose sight of what makes our town special and different from all the other over-built cities in the area.

Posted by s. lawrence
a resident of Danville
on Jan 11, 2010 at 4:05 pm

I beg you: don't cut down the trees or remove the current building. They add so much character to the town --- the kind of feel that is rarely found in Contra Costa County: quaint w/some age. Look what was done with the old white house on corner of Hartz and across from Faz. A fabulous renovation! And it keeps so much unique character for the town. I agree w/djm. Build a brand new glassy structure for the Vet Hall, but do it somewhere else at a different location in Danville. Keep the old Vet Hall and trees and use the old building for something other than big events.

Posted by Derek
a resident of Danville
on Jan 11, 2010 at 4:44 pm

Basically Prospect loses in two ways: with the removal of redwoods, and with a north building face that will be obscenely out of place no matter what our wise council members claim. The only real winners are the architect and builders. And on top of this the council also made it far easier for every whining yuppie in town to hack old trees out of their property every time said yup's feel the redwoods are blocking their god-given view. If you didn't like the trees, whyTF did you buy the property to begin with?
I'm still pissed at these well bribed council people for letting Bridges build yet another wine tasting / pick-up joint in place of the donated mini-park that used to occupy the land. A real achievement of fine architecture - a building that is shaped like a child's building block.
Let's be clear: the council members are not listening, so they have made their beds come next election.

Posted by Home Owner
a resident of Danville
on Jan 11, 2010 at 5:00 pm

If a homeowner wants to remove a oak tree that is dying or diseased, the owner has to jump through hoops, just to be denied, yet the Town can do whatever, whenever and it's ok. This is just another example of how the Town Council works. I also agree with Derek regarding the donated park, that building is hideous!

Posted by sj
a resident of Danville
on Jan 11, 2010 at 8:03 pm

let's hire the tree sitter's Berkley students .

Posted by spcwt
a resident of Danville
on Jan 12, 2010 at 7:39 am

They're tearing down the Vet's Hall & replacing it with a concrete and glass bunker? Where are we, Dublin? What's next, aluminum siding on the Shuey House? Have we no sense of history for this town?

I agree about that wine bar in front of Bridges. Who designed that box of a building? Frank Lloyd Wrong?

Posted by Linda
a resident of Danville
on Jan 12, 2010 at 11:45 am

While saddened by the loss of these trees, I'm hoping that some of the wood will be used in the building's expansion project. I am confident that new trees will be planted which will also add beauty to our wonderful Town, whos leaders have always taken pride in upholding the Town's special significance.

Posted by member
a resident of Danville
on Jan 12, 2010 at 12:33 pm

For All Concerned:
If you're that serious about the trees then I would strongly suggest that you begin attending public meetings that are held at either the Town Hall or the Town Offices. You can find out when they are by going to the website or visiting the town offices. Furthermore may I suggest that you get "involved" by looking at the drawings which are available to the public. Look at the whole picture so that you will be totally in tune with it all. You can also find out what trees will replace those that are being taken down. Thanks for being concerned citizens.

Posted by Sandy
a resident of Danville
on Jan 12, 2010 at 1:35 pm

Don't cut the trees - close Prospect between Hartz and Front Street to traffice and make it a pedestrian walk way. The Town of Danville seems to have a double standard for residence and Town Council. The Town can do anything it wants, which includes cutting trees and destroying the historic look of the town, but let a resident want to protect or improve their property and they go through pure H*ll getting permits etc. How much did the girder for the Oak Tree cost us? Save Our Trees!!!

Posted by rufous
a resident of Alamo
on Jan 12, 2010 at 6:23 pm

Ah, trees, the original renewable resource. Everybody wants to save the trees (and whales, and frogs, etc.) If you want trees, go to home depot, and buy some and plant them in your back yard. Viola! 20 years from now, towering fir trees (never mind that they aren't indigenous to this area, or their roots destroy everything in their path). As for me, I hope they will be distributing free firewood so I can burn it during spare the air days. ( I live behind a gate so no threat of authority figures knocking on my door during my enjoyment of a roaring fire)

Posted by psmacintosh
a resident of Danville
on Jan 13, 2010 at 1:27 pm

Where is the space for the necessary parking (immediate proximity) for seniors, including sufficient handicapped spots, for all that would like to attend this Center?

Much fewer people are going to be able to really use this Center than should be using this center, just simply because of inappropriate parking planning.

What a stupid place to put the Senior Center.
Build a separate Center in a better location (and build a proper parking structure--without narrowing a street).

Don't just assume that everyone (including volunteers) are going to come on the bus/Link.

Danville needs more parking in order to function and needs to go upward in order to do it (since it is already built-in). Height limit fanatics, get over it!

Maybe closing that block of Prospect would be good. (Not necessarially for the businesses there.) BUT there still needs to be more parking for the VETS HALL/SENIOR CENTER!
If you close the street, then you need even more parking.

If I live and shop in a small town, I'm not going to be willing to park far away from where I'm going. Otherwise I'll drive to a large mall or shopping center.

Posted by Derek
a resident of Danville
on Jan 13, 2010 at 1:35 pm

To Rufous the doofus: Fresh redwood won't burn well, but it may creosote up your stinky chimney, so by all means, proceed. Nothing like a warm fire while you're watching Faux News!
To "member", many people DID object to the tree removal plan at the meetings, and their feedback fell on deaf ears as usual. If you are a "member" of the council, you sir or madam, are part of the problem.

Posted by psmacintosh
a resident of Danville
on Jan 13, 2010 at 1:44 pm

Has anyone looked at OTHER Senior Centers and senior programs to see what sort of parking needs and requirements they have? Examples/models are in many cities.

Both Senior Centers in San Ramon have lots of immediate parking.
But I don't see that type of parking space around the Danville CENTER.

There most be some "model" senior programs out there.
If a lot of seniors use the Danvlle program, how much parking will there need to be?
For the volunteers? For the drivers? For the food trucks? Etc..
Also, what sort of drop-off and pick-up flow is planned for?
That should be the starting point of this building project.

And now we are cutting down the trees!

I hope someone has correctly determined the true parking needs of this VET HALL/SENIOR CENTER?
What is the assumption about how many people are going to use this CENTER? (The current number of users or a greatly enlarged number of new users.)

IMO, this is a failed project from the start. A waste of money. An attempt to placate and quiet seniors, while not really providing for their lives and for the future of other generations.

It is certainly not going to cause anyone to want to MOVE HERE!

Posted by f.v.h.
a resident of Danville
on Jan 14, 2010 at 9:20 am

Dear psmacintosh, Too bad you did not (obviously) come to all of the Town meetings about the planning. ALL of your questions (from parking to landscaping and beyond) would have been answered and you would be most satisfied. Everything you ask has been completely taken into account and MORE than sufficiently addressed. The VETERANS Memorial Building is going to be SO wonderful and beautiful and such an enhancement to our COMMUNITY, and the SENIORS will love it for their ongoing activities, its enhancements,and the so many benefits which will be provided. It's sad to hear people complaining about something awsomely wonderful which is about to bring untold happiness to our lovely Town!

Posted by Marie
a resident of Danville
on Jan 14, 2010 at 10:02 am

I have been a HUGE backer of veterans & have given large donations to their worthy causes all of my life, but I can promise (not that it matters to the council or to the veterans !), I will never enter their new building in that grove-less setting. If promises have been made to the politician who donated the money,I guess money & politicians trump historic trees. I'd sign a petition if there were one to sign. I moved here because my former town council made some very bad choices, but maybe that's what councils do to get money for projects. Pretty sad !

Posted by psmacintosh
a resident of Danville
on Jan 14, 2010 at 12:43 pm

Yes, I did not come to the planning meetings.
Yes, I know that all the plans are made and finished. So my comments are too late (along with everyone else's).

But I did read every piece of info that was made available to me! And I don't see the adequate parking.

f.v.h, since you know more info than I, please tell me if 50-100 people (not counting anyone arriving by non-car means) want to come to use the Senior Center on a given day, WHERE will they all park?
(If we're not expecting a large number of seniors to come (given time to learn about the offerings), then this whole "senior program/center" is a farce to begin with.)

Will it be a block away in the Downtown Lot?
Will there be sufficient Handicapped spots?

How many seniors will NOT come to most of the programs because they don't want to park and walk from that far away?

This plan/location is NOT the best situation for seniors.
It is something. It is more than nothing. But it is a lot less than it should be or could be.

And when the Hall is RENTED OUT for events, how many people will it hold? Where will all those people park?

I've seen no info on this parking. So please let me know the wonderful plan.

Posted by Laurel
a resident of Alamo
on Jan 14, 2010 at 1:43 pm

Why, Why do the trees have to come down? They give Danville the charicture that we all love and one of the reason's we moved here and I like shopping in Danville. I'm sure they can find anotherway round rather than chop down the beautiful trees.

Posted by TL Nelson
a resident of Danville
on Jan 17, 2010 at 1:28 am

The town manager claims that they spent two years trying to find an alternative site for the new Veteran’s Memorial Hall. I just do not believe they did this with any real intention of finding another site. There are plenty of unattractive buildings in the downtown area that could have been purchased, demolished, and used as a site for the new Veterans Hall.

Instead, they intentionally chose to build on the existing site, knowing full well that they would have to destroy Danville's heritage trees. As part of the overall plot to destroy these trees, they suddenly decided to remove redwoods from the city's protected species list just before the decision was made to kill the majestic redwoods and cedars that grace Prospect and Hartz Avenue.

These redwood and cedar trees are healthy, despite what the town officials say. They are only 70 years old, mere youngsters. They will live for centuries more if we take care of them. But instead, our town council has condemned them to death. When they cut these trees, they will also be cutting the very soul out of downtown Danville.

I hope I am not the only person who cares about these magnificent trees that have given Danville shade and a sense of place for so many years.

Posted by Glorya Anderson Weber
a resident of Alamo
on Jan 17, 2010 at 8:38 am

How do I contact the Danville council team who has the power to decide the fate of the trees, the final design of the building & parking space requirements? I travel for business & am unable to attend the town meetings.

Posted by TL Nelson
a resident of Danville
on Jan 17, 2010 at 1:29 pm

To Gloria Weber:

The best person to contact on this is:

Joe Calabrigo
Town Manager

You will get the same story that I did when I talked with him ... they worked for two years to find an alternative site, they needed a bigger building to meet all the requested needs of seniors and veterans, etc, etc.

Personally, I believe they made a bad decision back in June 2009 and do not want to go back and revisit it at this late date. If it really came down to either the heritage trees or the new building, the trees should have won hands down. They can find another place for the building that does not destroy old growth trees, but I suspect they are so far down this road now, they will be reluctant to change course.

You will also hear from Mr. Calabrigo that they will plant new trees to replace the ones that are cut down .. these will be Pistacia trees, something you normally see in parking lots. The existing redwoods and cedars simply cannot be replaced ... once they are gone they are gone forever (or at least for another 70 years).

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