Austin Heritage Tree Foundation
Protecting trees

Frate Barker Tree


                                                      CAMI IS NOT SAVED AND WILL BE KIILLED
                        UNLESS AN EXPERIENCED CONTRACTOR IS HIRED TO DO THE TRANSPLANTING
                                                                                     01/11/15


in progress...


CAMI IS SAVED!
-  11/05/2013

The Travis County Commissioners Court approved the transplanting of this tree since TXDot will be reimbursing 80% of the costs.  Transplanting and all the associated miscellaneous (temporary one lane road around the tree for 3 months) will cost $49,000 to the County.  This is not much to save a heritage tree that is very significant to the community and not much compared to the $11.7M cost of the Frate Barker Rd. expansion. 

The Austin Heritage Tree Foundation will be providing the post care for 5 years to this tree to ensure its survival.  This involves quarterly visits from a certified arborist and monthly visits from an irrigator.  The cost of this care is much less than the $108K that the County estimated.

Please, thank Judge Biscoe and Commissioners Gomez and Todd (sam.biscoe@co.travis.tx.us , 512-854-9555;  margaret.gomez@co.travis.tx.us , (512) 854-9444; bruce.todd@co.travis.tx.us , (512) 854-9222).  

For more details see the article below.  Additional news coverage after the article.

http://www.mystatesman.com/news/news/local-govt-politics/travis-county-to-spend-49000-to-move-tree/nbjJ9/

                                  photo by Ralph Barrera

Travis County to spend $49,000 to move tree

By Farzad Mashhood - American-Statesman Staff

Travis County will pay about $49,000 to move a 100-year-old oak tree along a road widening project, commissioners decided Tuesday.

The long-planned $11.5 million widening of 1.3-mile Frate Barker Road between Brodie Lane and Manchaca Road in southern Travis County will continue after Cami, as neighbors have named the live oak, is moved a few hundred feet away. The total costs to move the tree is $245,000; the Texas Department of Transportation is picking up the rest of the tab. 

Tree moving is eligible for an 80 reimbursement from federal highway dollars, just as the rest of the project is, said Steve Manilla, the county’s transportation and natural resources executive. The county is responsible for 20 percent of the project’s cost, $2.3 million. The state is covering the rest using federal highway funds.

Commissioners approved the move in a 3-1 vote with Commissioner Ron Davis absent from Tuesday’s meeting.

Commissioner Gerald Daugherty opposed spending the money to move the tree. Another option commissioners considered would have cost the county $4,000 and taken $16,000 of federal funds. Under that scenario, Cami would have been chopped down and replaced with several smaller trees with trunks that add up to 30 inches in diameter —

Cami’s girth.

“It’s 80 feet from the city,” said Tracey Huguley, a resident who spearheaded the effort to move the tree. “We wouldn’t even be having this conversation if this tree were in the city … because she would be protected by the city.”

The county had received bids as low as $120,000 to move the tree but chose the highest bid because that contractor offered the lowest overall price of the road construction and tree movement project. Commissioners considered rebidding just the tree-moving, but TxDOT and county staffers advised against it, saying having two separate contractors on a site can be more complicated and, ultimately, more expensive.


NEWS COVERAGE:

http://www.myfoxaustin.com/story/23887604/commissioners-vote-to-save-100-year-old-tree

http://www.austinpost.org/frate-barker-heritage-tree-%E2%80%98cami%E2%80%99-saved

http://www.austinnews.net/index.php/sid/218211854/scat/3772e08ad12afe08

http://www.mystatesman.com/news/news/local-govt-politics/travis-county-to-spend-49000-to-move-tree/nbjJ9/

http://news.silobreaker.com/frate-barker-heritage-tree-cami-saved-5_2267242833528225873

http://www.mystatesman.com/news/news/local-govt-politics/county-considers-moving-live-oak-tree-in-way-of-ro/nbcBJ/

http://www.kxan.com/news/local/austin/commissioners-delay-vote-on-heritage-oak-trees-fate

http://www.keyetv.com/news/features/top-stories/stories/travis-co-considers-paying-move-old-oak-tree-14076.shtml

http://www.myfoxaustin.com/story/23822814/commissioners-consider-spending-254k-to-transplant-100-year-old-tree

http://www.infactdaily.com/newsread.cfm

http://austin.cityandpress.com/node/6996919

http://oakhillgazette.com/featured/2012/06/tree-vs-road-road-improvements-set-to-win/

http://weareaustin.com/news/top-stories/stories/vid_2134.shtml (no longer posted)

FRIENDS OF CAMI:

http://www.change.org/petitions/save-cami-the-old-oak-tree-on-frate-barker

BACKUPS FROM TRAVIS COUNTY:

http://www.co.travis.tx.us/commissioners_court/agendas/2013/11/backup/item_backup_20131105/vs20131105_item_07.pdf

http://ftp.dot.state.tx.us/pub/txdot-info/aus/frate_barker/full_ea_032312.pdf


http://ftp.dot.state.tx.us/pub/txdot-info/aus/frate_barker/hearing_summary_030311.pdf
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                                                                         ARCHIVES

CAMI is not safe and she needs your help!
 

***  Court Commissioners Court meeting Tuesday Nov. 5th (700 Lavaca, bottom floor, starts at 9 am) ***

Please, speak, call and/or email.  Ask the Court to preserve the Frate Barker heritage tree.  

The Court may approve removal of the tree because Travis County most likely will not have answers from TxDot on their commitment to reimburse the County 80% of the transplanting cost. We think that the Court’s decision will largely depend on how many people show up to support the tree transplanting! 

The Court postponed the vote last week to get some additional important information from Travis County, but it seems that they won’t be getting it on time.  The Court has several options to preserve the tree:  They could approve the transplanting option included in the approved road bid, but this will cost $245K.  They could approve the road bid without the tree transplanting option, and ask Travis County to solicit bids for tree transplanting (separate from the road contract). 

The Court also has the option to approve removal of the tree.  We are very concerned that the Court will ask for this because Travis County would be taking the risk of paying the full $245K if the Court approves transplanting without having a commitment from TXDot to reimburse the County.

The Travis County engineer told us last Friday that the chosen road bid is within budget, including the tree transplanting option.  This means that the County has the money to transplant the tree.  Travis County’s objections are not really about not having the money, but rather about not spending it to transplant a heritage tree, even if the tree is healthy and very significant to the community.  The engineer said that the County hasn’t recommended transplanting due to several reasons and that they had not explained these reasons to the Court because the Commissioners have not asked.

Travis County insists that they don’t have the $245K to transplant, but when they approached us in July 2012, they told us that they had $250K to transplant the tree and that they may do so if the neighbors stopped fighting the road, came together and supported transplanting the tree (this statement is validated with an email from the Travis County engineer). 

Transplanting the tree is different than what
Travis County does typically (which is to remove the tree), and requires adjustments and flexibility.  More importantly, it requires the willingness to do so.  Travis County needs to show good faith and carry on the promises they made to the neighbors.  We believed them and did our part.  Now they need to do theirs.

Why does Travis County oppose transplanting?  Because:

·    Travis County believes that it may create a precedent for Travis County and TXDot to have to transplant every heritage tree.  HOWEVER, not all trees are transplantable and it’s difficult to find relocation sites.

·    Travis County believes that if it doesn’t create a precedent, at least it will cause a discussion every time a large tree will be removed due to road construction.  HOWEVER, the discussion to preserve trees should occur when roads are designed because trees are important to the community.  This discussion can be very productive if done at an early stage, so that efforts are made to incorporate the best trees into the design.  Typically, the community accepts compromises when they see good faith efforts to save trees.

·    Commissioner Daugherty is concerned that the roads will be held hostage by the trees, delaying plans and decisions because trees are in the way.  HOWEVER, as much as roads are needed, it is also important to have a holistic and sustainable approach when designing roads and include prominent healthy trees.  Roads do not preclude preserving large trees.  In fact, these discussions are already happening with TxDot, the Central TX Mobility agency and the community with the Oak Hill and the Bergstrom Parkways.  Roads have more support and acceptance when the community is involved and when community’s concerns are addressed, for instance, by preserving prominent trees when feasible.   

·    Travis County typically removes trees and mitigates by planting new young trees. They have not transplanted trees.  HOWEVER, TXDot is working with the community to transplant the Taco Bell tree at William Cannon and S290, and the Central TX Mobility is considering transplanting a heritage tree in the Bergstrom Parkway.

·    Travis County claims that the transplanting is too expensive and that they can’t spend taxpayers’ money on this.  HOWEVER, they paid staff for 2 year to design, manage and include the transplanting option in the bids.  How much was spent and why was taxpayer money spent on a transplanting option that would never be recommended?

·    Travis County claims that they don’t have the $245K to pay for the transplanting.  HOWEVER, they told us that the full road contract is within budget.  In addition, in June 2012 they approached the neighbors with the transplanting option and said they had $250K for that (this statement is validated with a letter from Travis County), and contacted the foundation the next month.  In addition, in March 2013, Commissioner Daugherty told the Shady Hollow neighbors that Travis County had $250K and was inclined to transplant the tree, and wanted to know how the neighbors would feel about the road if the tree was transplanted (this statement is validated with an email and a neighbor’s statement at the Commissioners Court last Tuesday).

·    Travis County claims that the tree will not survive.  HOWEVER, in their backup, the County states that their arborist inspected the tree and said that it will survive.  Transplanted trees have a 98% chance of survival if they are provided adequate post-care for 5 years.

Last Tuesday, the Court did not like the $245K bid for transplanting that was included in the chosen lowest road bid, and asked Travis County to reduce the cost of the transplanting option by:

a.    unbundling the tree transplanting bid from the road bid and soliciting bids just to transplant the tree,

b.    providing a break down of the lowest and highest tree transplanting bids,

c.    asking the contractor chosen for the road to reduce the tree transplanting bid,

d.     getting an answer from TxDot on whether or not they will reimburse Travis County 80% of the transplanting cost.

These are the answers to the items above up to now (from a Friday meeting with Chiddi N Jie, Travis County engineer):

a.   At the last Tuesday Court meeting, Purchasing replied that the contract specified that the transplanting bid cannot be separated from the road.  The only option is for the Court to approve the road contract without the tree item (not approving tree removal or transplanting), and solicit the tree transplant separately.  This means that 2 contractors would be working in the same area.  This creates a problem with the County having to manage 2 contractors, and also with the 2 contractors not being able to enter each others work zones.  The road contractor bid assuming that he had control over the full road and calculated his operational cost based on this.  If a zone is assigned to another contractor, the road contractor’s operation may not be as efficient and this may increase his cost.   

Having 2 contractors may require adjusting, but it can be done to save the tree:

·    the tree working zone is very small and thus, disruption is very small,

·    the tree transplant could be done prior to the road contractor entering that zone and the adjacent zone.  For instance, the road contractor could work on the road from the Brodie Lane intersection to the tree, the tree gets transplanted, then the contractor could continue to work on the road from there to the Manchaca Rd. intersection,

·    the additional operational expense may be less than the $245K bid. 

b.   Travis County engineer says that the lowest tree transplanting bidder is not interested in providing a breakdown and they can’t force him to do so.  Travis County emailed the highest tree bidder (who is also the road contractor) several questions and expects a reply on Monday. 

c.   Travis County engineer says that they cannot negotiate on a contract after the proposal is sent out and a contractor chosen, so any negotiating for the road contractor to lower the tree transplanting bid would have to be voluntary.  There may be contingency (contingency = additional cost included in the bid to account for the risk that the contractor takes) or insurance items that could be lowered voluntarily.  This will be known once a breakdown is provided.

d.   Travis County engineer contacted TXDot and is waiting for a reply, but most likely they will not have a commitment by Tuesday. 

Travis County may also say that the $245K tree transplanting bid cannot be reduced because of the associated items that have to be done with the transplant (build a temporary one lane road around the tree for 3 months, abandon utilities within a 15 ft. radius around the centerline of the tree, traffic control, etc.)  The following is speculation since we don’t know the breakdown of the $245K bid.  Assuming that the tree transplant itself is only $122K (since Travis County told us this a year ago), an additional $123K may be included in the tree transplanting bid to build a temporary one lane road, remove utilities, traffic control, etc. 

Travis County engineer speculated that the contractor bid $245K total to transplant the tree because:

·    The temporary road that has to be built is complicated since it’s close to the intersections.  However, it would be a very short road with only one lane.

·    The hole left after the tree is transplanted has to be filled by the road contractor a few inches at a time followed by a machine with a roller to tamp it down well so the new road doesn’t collapse.  However, the hole is no deeper than 3 ft. and the road contractor has to regrade the road anyway and tamp it.

·    Traffic has to be rerouted around the tree for 3 months and this is complicated and expensive.  However, this is done with road markings, fences, etc.

·     People have to get used to sign changes, road closures, etc.  However, people have to do that anyway with the road construction.

Why save this heritage tree?  This is a healthy 100 years old 30 inches live oak that has survived the road and drought. This is an irreplaceable heritage tree, the last one along the road.  All the other trees along the road will be removed or impacted.  The Rancho Alto and Olympic Heights neighbors have lost hundreds of trees to development.  Young trees planted along roads only survive 15 years at most.  This tree can NOT be replaced within our lifetimes with young trees.  It takes 100 years to grow a 100 year old tree. 

Sent: Monday, October 28, 2013 3:13 PM
To: 'sam.biscoe@co.travis.tx.us'; 'ron.davis@co.travis.tx.us'; 'bruce.todd@co.travis.tx.us'; 'gerald.daugherty@co.travis.tx.us'; 'margaret.gomez@co.travis.tx.us'
Subject: Please, approve transplanting of Frate Barker tree

Judge Biscoe and County Commissioners,

The Austin Heritage Tree Foundation respectfully requests that you approve the transplanting of the Frate Barker tree (item 5 in tomorrow’s agenda).  We have worked with Travis County engineer Chiddi N Jie for 1.5 years to make this option possible.  I am pasting at the end of this email, an email from Chiddi stating that if the community (the neighbors) were to provide for some of the cost of the transplanting, such as the post-care for 5 years, that Travis County may recommend Alternative 1 for the road with the transplanting option.  Chiddi said in that email:

Cost participation by your group may make the relocation option more likely to be selected by the County

…We fully understand your organization’s interests and goals.  Participating in the financial requirements needed to relocate the tree will help to make those goals be realized.

…As stated previously, TNR’s recommendation is to proceed with removing the tree and to mitigate its loss by planting new trees. The primary reason for this is because of the high cost, estimated at about $281,000.   A financial contribution and commitment from your support group to nurture the tree for the five year period you desire would have a positive influence on changing our recommendation. Nevertheless we will include tree relocation and care in our bid documents to determine an accurate cost, and I will keep you informed of any new developments.”

We did our part.  The neighbors stopped fighting the Frate Barker Rd. expansion, and even though many more trees will be removed with the road construction, they compromised and concentrated on transplanting this tree.  The Rancho Alto HOA agreed to provide for the post care for 5 years, a line item that Chiddi estimated at $90,000 of the total cost of the transplant.  The foundation committed to provide advice and guidance to the neighbors.  A neighbor donated a portion of her land to relocate the tree right across the road, along Rancho Alto Rd. 

Chiddi was supposed to setup legal agreements for both of these.  However, now Steven Manilla tells us that TNR always recommended the removal option, that TNR never considered recommending the transplanting option. 

In March 2013, Commissioner Daugherty told the Shady Hollow HOA that $250,000 was available for transplanting and that TNR was inclined to transplant the tree in March 2013, while asking how the neighbors would feel about the Frate Barker Rd. if the tree were to be transplanted:

Email from Shay Hollow HOA member: 

…I had asked Gerald Daugherty about the status of the tree a month ago, and he just called me back about it today.  He says the federal government has given Travis County $9M to expand Frate Barker, and no one seems inclined to give the money back and not do the project.  However, he did say that for $250K they can move the tree, and they are inclined to do that.  If the tree is moved and saved, would the neighbors be ok with that?  How did things go at the last rally?  Gerald asked if I’d call him back and give him an idea of what the reaction might be if the tree is saved, and they still go forward with the road…

TNR offered to us in our first meeting that they had $250,000 to transplant the tree, and if the community were to come together and work together towards transplanting the tree, that this could occur.  TNR estimated the transplanting cost to be $281,000, out of which $108,000 were for post care.  Chiddi proposed that the community pay for this post care since the County doesn’t do these long term agreements.  The community agreed and the post care will be provided by the HOA, representing a 38% cost sharing.    This is a significant contribution from the community in order to transplant this tree.

The transplanting cost from the chosen lowest bid contractor is $245,000, but TXDot has determined that transplanting costs are reimbursable, so then TNR’s share would be only $49,000.  Please see item 3 after the signature in this email for the breakdown of estimated costs.

The transplanting option is reimbursable by TXDot and TXDot doing this will not set a precedent for TXDot having to transplant heritage trees with the Oak Hill Parkway because the community has communicated that the trees are important, and TXDot is already working on several designs that go around the trees, to preserve them.    

Transplanted trees have a 98% survival rate, provided that adequate post care is provided.  TNR’s backup explains that their arborist confirmed this.  Developers have transplanted several large heritage trees in Austin, with the supervision of the City of Austin Arborist.

The tree mover contractor will have to cut into 2-3 ft. of road to prepare the root ball to transplant.  Traffic from ½ a lane will have to be rerouted, and a temporary ½ lane will have to be built, but Travis County knew all of this when they offered this option to the neighbors and included all of this with the transplanting option in the site plans that went out for bids.

This heritage tree is the last one along this section of the road.  This heritage tree is very significant to the community, so much that they have named it Cami.  There is an online petition with 450 signatures (http://www.change.org/petitions/save-cami-the-old-oak-tree-on-frate-barker ).  I am attaching the text of this petition and the comments.  Please, note that the majority of the comments are from the neighbors as well as from the larger Austin community. 

The neighbors and the Austin community does not support removing this tree and mitigating by planting 30 inches worth of young trees.  Trees planted along roads and streets don’t survive more than 15 years because of the compacted soil and the heat from the asphalt.  This mortality rate increases even more during the drought, even if irrigation is provided (because often irrigation breaks down or is shut off and no one notices until the trees are dead).  Trees grow very slowly.  It takes 100 years to replace a 100 year old tree.  Heritage trees are the workhorses of the urban forest and provide 35 times more ecosystem benefits that young trees.  In addition, heritage trees increase the physical and mental health of the citizens.  This is evident by the large amount of neighbors that love this tree.

1.    TNR is breaking their commitment to the community

Chiddi told us in 2 meetings (2012, 2013) that he would consider the transplanting option because he had listen the community, that he understood that this tree was important to the community, and that the community had been fighting the Frate Barker road expansion, but came together when we started talking about transplanting the tree and sharing the costs.  Chiddi told us that this will help TNR recommend the transplanting, but that the Court would have to approve.  He never told us that TNR was not recommending transplanting.  However, the community did their part, stopped fighting the road to support transplanting the tree, and agreed to share the costs.

The foundation initially met with Chiddi on July 25, 2012 to discuss preserving  this heritage tree with road Alternative 3 that goes south around the tree.  Chiddi explained that this option was not feasible because it would require the County to purchase more row and many neighbors would be affected.  We clarified that only the parking lot of the Goddard School and portion of one neighbor’s lot (the neighbor who is donating land to transplant the tree) would be affected, but Chiddi would not accept Alternative 3.  We then offered to pay for some of the transplanting costs.  Chiddi told us that he would include a transplanting and a removal option with Alternative 1 in the site plans, and that if we contributed and committed towards the transplanting, that he would recommend Alternative 1 with the transplanting option.  We wrote that in our email to Chiddi recapping the meeting:

Austin Heritage Tree Foundation email:  “You explained that you will submit Alternative 1 with a recommendation to transplant the tree, but it may be that the funding for transplanting is not approved, and in that case, the tree will be mitigated. We were clear that we only support preserving the tree.”

However, Chiddi backed off from a commitment in his email reply, but assured us that cost participation would increase the transplanting chances: 

Chiddi’s email reply:  “We will solicit bids for both options.  Cost participation by your group may make the relocation option more likely to be selected by the County.” 

The quotes below are from Chiddi’s email of August 28, 2012:

“Cost participation by your group may make the relocation option more likely to be selected by the County. 

…We fully understand your organization’s interests and goals.  Participating in the financial requirements needed to relocate the tree will help to make those goals be realized.

…As stated previously, TNR’s recommendation is to proceed with removing the tree and to mitigate its loss by planting new trees. The primary reason for this is because of the high cost, estimated at about $281,000.   A financial contribution and commitment from your support group to nurture the tree for the five year period you desire would have a positive influence on changing our recommendation. Nevertheless we will

include tree relocation and care in our bid documents to determine an accurate cost, and I will keep you informed of any new developments.”

2.    Transplanting costs

2.a  Estimated transplanting costs:

Chiddi’s estimate for the total transplant cost were as follows:

“The estimated cost for each option is provided below (actual price will be known when the project is bid):

Option 1: Remove and Mitigate

a.      6-5” Live oak trees ball and burlap??? (@$1,500 ea.)------------------$9,000

b.      Long term maintenance (2 yrs.)----------------------------------------- $3,000

i.      Total estimated cost -----------------------------------------------------$12,000 

Option 2: Relocate

c.       Tree removal and replanting -----------------------------------------$140,000

d.      Construct temporary road --------------------------------------------- $33,000

e.       Temporary right-of-way------------------------------------------------- $5,000

f.        Existing utility relocation----------------------------------------------- $10,000

g.      Repair roadway after removing the tree--------------------------------$3,000

h.      Long term maintenance of the tree (5 yrs. @$18,000/yr.)---------- $90,000

                         i.      Total estimated cost--------------------------------------------------$281,000”

Since the HOA agreed to provide the post care (long term tree maintenance) for 5 yrs, $90,000 need to be subtracted from the $281,000 total.  In addition, the transplanting cost of $140,000 includes $18,000 for the first year of tree maintenance, so $108,000 need to be subtracted from the $281,000 total.  The total estimate should have been $173,000.

Since the HOA will be providing the tree maintenance ($90,000 + 18,000 = $108,000 of Chiddi’s numbers), the HOA will be cost sharing 38% of the estimated cost.

2.b  Transplanting costs in bid:

TNR states in their backup that the total cost of the transplant is $245,000.  Depending on that breakdown, $108,000 may be subtracted from this total since the HOA will be providing for the post care.

TNR allocated $250,000 for transplanting the tree from the beginning.  Commissioner Daugherty told the Shady Hollow HOA that $250,000 was available for transplanting and that TNR was inclined to transplant the tree in March 2013, while asking how the neighbors would feel about the Frate Barker Rd. if the tree were to be transplanted:

Email from Shay Hollow HOA member:

…I had asked Gerald Daugherty about the status of the tree a month ago, and he just called me back about it today.  He says the federal government has given Travis County $9M to expand Frate Barker, and no one seems inclined to give the money back and not do the project.  However, he did say that for $250K they can move the tree, and they are inclined to do that.  If the tree is moved and saved, would the neighbors be ok with that?  How did things go at the last rally?  Gerald asked if I’d call him back and give him an idea of what the reaction might be if the tree is saved, and they still go forward with the road…

3.    TXDot is reimbursing the transplanting cost, so Travis County’s transplanting cost is $49,000 and the HOA is providing $108,000 of the cost in the transplanting estimate.

TNR’s backup says that TXDot has determined that transplanting cost are reimbursable.  If TXDot reimburses the transplanting costs, the cost to Travis County is only $49,000.  The neighbors are proving $108,000 of the estimated cost, so this should cover the County’s expenses. 

The appraised value of this tree is at least $60,000, much higher if community value is added.

4.    Transplanting survival

Survival rate is 98% provided that the tree gets adequate post care.  Maintaining the soil and roots moist, and the tree free of pests is important, so the post care includes monthly visits from an irrigator to check irrigation and soil moisture, quarterly visits from a certified arborist, and pest management treatments.  Post care also includes a soil aeration and fertilization at the relocation site, to invigorate new roots.  Developers have transplanted several heritage trees in the City of Austin since 2010.

5.    Damage to the road was included in the transplanting cost

TNR understood the impact to the road and included this in the site plans.  The tree mover has to remove 2-3 ft. of asphalt in the south side, cut 2 ft. deep and fertilize that area to invigorate roots in that are 3 months prior to moving the tree.  This requires closing half of a lane and adding half of a lane south of the tree for 3 months.  This cost was included in the estimate of the transplant.  The road does not have to be rebuilt after moving the tree since the road is being expanded.

The tree is being moved right across the road, so impact to above grade utilities is minimum.  Light posts don’t have to be removed as they did when the tree was going to the pond.  Chiddi was supposed to update the site plans to the new location across the road. If he didn’t, that may be causing higher costs but this is no longer needed.

6.    Community significance

This tree is very significant to the entire Austin community and the neighbors.  This tree has a facebook page and an online petition with 450 signatures.  The community loves this tree so much that it has named Cami, after a friend who died of cancer and they couldn’t save, but they want to save this tree.

Please, see attached word file with the comments from the petition.  The majority of the comments are from Austin, some from local neighbors, other from the larger Austin community.  The Austin Heritage Tree Foundation supports preserving this tree and has worked hard with Chiddi on the transplanting option 

7.    Background

Since July 2012, we have worked with Chiddi under the assumption that if we contributed towards the transplant, that TNR would recommend this option.  We contacted neighbors, presented at the Rancho Alto HOA meeting, gained their support, discussed at length with the City of Austin Watershed Department a possible location at a pond, that later was replaced with the current location across the street because a neighbor donated a portion of her land for the tree.  We spent a considerable amount of time in discussions with a tree mover contractor, certified arborists, etc. regarding this transplanting.

On July 15, 2013, two neighbors, a tree advocate and the foundation met with Chiddi and gave him a commitment letter from the foundation to provide the post-care for 5 years (that included estimates from 2 certified arborists).  At that meeting we agreed on the following:

*  Community coming together, not fighting the road, and sharing the costs of the transplant will help TNR approve the transplanting.  Community stopped fighting the road to support transplanting the tree.

Site plans will include a transplanting option (relocating the heritage tree to the pond in Rancho Alto, later changed to across the street).

*  Road construction site plans will include all items needed for the transplant such as preparation (cutting into the road 2-3 ft. to increase root ball on the south side), closing a lane and building a new lane for 3 months to allow this, proper transplanting timing (other portions of the road would be worked on to avoid transplanting in Summer), removing utilities including overhead wires and light posts that interfere with tree moving, abandoning utilities in the area formed by the root ball to be transplanted, etc.  Arborist (tree mover) in record provided this information to Chiddi.

Rancho Alto HOA will share the costs by providing the post-care of the tree for 5 years.

Transplanting specifications to hire a qualified (sub)contractor to transplant the tree would be included in the site plans.

 



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