Developers never learn: Don’t f–k with our trees, K?

Petition to save Casa Linda trees is in circulation.

Look we are crazy—no, like, literally neurotic about nature, all around Dallas, believe it or not, but especially in the White Rock area where tree huggers tend to convene.

Yet, like last year’s Cube Smart owner, businesspeople often are oblivious to our abject tree obsessions. Individuals such as this chainsaw wielding ignoramus had no clue how neighbors would react to his wood whacking (a police officer at the scene said he’d be better off facing a judge in court than present jury of tree worshipping residents, who surrounded him).

Hell, this near-70-year-old woman climbed her pecan tree—armed with pellet gun—to prevent Oncor electric from trimming it. TWO DIFFERENT TIMES.

And Mother Nature? Well, she gave ’em and she’s about the only entity allowed to take ’em away, we suppose.

We HEART trees

And now we have this drama going down in Casa Linda:

As reported by Lakewood Advocate‘s Will Maddox:

When word spread that several mature cedar elm trees in Casa Linda Plaza were not long for this world, neighbors rallied, making calls to the property owner Edens and City Councilman Mark Clayton. After an appearance by Clayton at the plaza, a change.org petition and many calls to Edens, a meeting has been arranged between the developer and neighbors to see if a compromise can be reached.

Casa View neighbor Taylor Slovak saw a post about the tree removal on NextDoor and began to organize. She started a petition, which now has over 500 signatures, and reached out to other neighborhood leaders to see what could be done.

“Yes its only five trees,” she says. “But it speaks to a bigger message to other developers.”

Edens, who owns the property, went through the proper channels to remove the trees, and is by law allowed to follow through with their plan. But after receiving pushback from the community, Slovak says she has a meeting scheduled with Edens for next Tuesday at 4 p.m.

Edens couldn’t confirm the timing of this meeting, but says they are working with Councilman Mark Clayton’s office to find a time to meet with the community to further discuss the plan. The original project timeline did not call for the trees to be removed at this point.

In conversations with Slovak, Edens Managing Director Tom Kiler discussed their vision for the shopping center. Most of the improvements are welcome, but the conflict is over the mature trees in the middle of the plaza, which Edens says need to be removed in order to make the center more pedestrian friendly. They are also planting more trees than currently exist in the area.

In a Facebook post yesterday, Mark Clayton wrote, “The developer indicated to me today that the plan is to pull the parking out closer to Buckner in order to widen the sidewalks and make the entire space more pedestrian friendly…Obviously, it looks bad when the first thing you’re doing is pulling out five trees and landscaping. However, the redesign of the complex and parking will add 20 additional trees that aren’t there today and more landscaping.”

Clayton continued, “The City has a tree mitigation plan and they are doing more than the City even requires them to do. They could do just the bare minimum and that’s all the City can require. However, these developers are long term holders and have done really, really nice projects around the country. You’re not going to get a concrete skating rink.”

Slovak is assembling a team of neighbors to meet with Edens, and hopes to bring an alternate design for the plaza on the southeast corner of Buckner and Garland that achieves Edens’ goals while preserving the trees in question. Patrick Blaydes, co-president of Little Forest Hills Neighborhood Association and project manager at Better Block, plans to help with a new design along with other professionals in the neighborhood. They hope to present Edens with a compromise acceptable to all parties.

“That little area is a little piece of history,” Slovak says. “Our landscape is what makes us so unique.”

1 Comment
  1. There are a few responsible developers that choose to build greener and more sustainable projects. But, sadly- most developers are only looking at the “cost” difference of saving trees rather than felling them. When they do this- saving or moving trees can be quite costly. So, the builders proposal includes the cost to remove trees (sometimes every tree) from the site. Once they’ve won the bid, they’ll try to rush in and remove the trees as quickly as possible- in hopes they are gone before anyone is the wiser.

    Luckily, there are a few “Lorax” Dallas residents that keep a watchful eye out for developments that have submitted projects to the city of Dallas that include the removal of mature and sometimes, potentially historic trees. The developer would be happiest if the public never knew their plans, and if they do become privy on the plans…it would be the best for the developer if the public found out after the trees are already removed.

    It is encouraging to see Dallasites have no qualm speaking out against threatened trees the community feels a connection to- especially if the trees provide benefits such as screening views of commercial properties. Plans submitted that call for the removal of larger trees should be more transparent to the public.

    Thank you!

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