Last night we hied us down to the City Council chambers to ask the Historic Preservation Commission to allow us to cut down the chinaberry tree that is strangling, starving, and stunting our fig tree.
We have now made it through the entire process, and I feel very well treated. The city staff was a pleasure to work with; they were polite, helpful, efficient, and most of all, transparent, calling us with updates, clarifications, and further information at every step of the way. If only state and federal dealings could be so smooth. And I'd be saying that even if our application had been turned down.
Because, in the event, we were approved. I worried (okay, I still worry) that we were being given preferential treatment for being involved in Pomona Heritage and for having hired Commissioner Van Allen to consult with us (back before she was a commissioner) about our yard. On the other hand, the HPC bent over backward to help a couple who wanted to replace their metal casement windows with vinyl, despite the applicant's visibly (and audibly) increasing frustration.
The other thing I continue to squirm about is the justification of the tree removal. I had written the application on the basis of the smothered fig tree only (and the instability of the branches), but the city staff noted also that the concrete was cracking and that the tree was interfering with power lines. If any commissioners are reading this, I do not think those justify tree removal! A tree is always going to be more valuable to me than a patch of cement.
The last surprise was that one of the commissioners recused himself on the grounds that he lives too close to us. Commish, stop in and say hey if you're passing by!
Last but not least, I can't help but note that, again, personal illness featured in the other presentation that I saw. I was tempted to make something up for us (chinaberry allergy? barkophobia? passing reference to the time I frostbit my butt in South America?), but I didn't want to make John Clifford shoot coffee through his nose in the back of the auditorium.