Butcher’s Corner Oaks Saved!

SUFA successfully fought to save a number of oak trees from development on the Butcher’s Corner property at the intersection of El Camino Real, Wolfe Road, and Fremont Avenue. Preserving trees was not a priority at all in the initial development proposal.  While 70 of the 248 trees on the property were considered healthy enough for preservation, the plans called for keeping only one tree.  SUFA stepped in to save the most visible and the oldest trees on the property by working to have them declared Heritage Resources.

The Sunnyvale Municipal Code 19.96.050 criteria for evaluation and nomination of heritage resources, item (f), states that a tree may be designated a heritage resource if “It has a unique location or singular physical characteristic or is a view or vista representing an established and familiar visual feature of a neighborhood, community, or the city of Sunnyvale.”

SUFA argued that the group of Coast Live Oak trees on the corner is a familiar visual feature of the both the immediate neighborhood and the city.  Protection of the trees would maintain the established vista at this busy intersection as well as preserve one of the few remaining areas along El Camino that have large trees. These trees are large and healthy and are considered protected trees because of their size and age (over 50 years old).  The 300-year-old Valley Oak in the center of the property is one of the original trees on that property and also qualifies as a heritage tree.  Removal of these trees would have greatly altered the look and feel of the area.

SUFA requested that the Heritage Preservation Commission consider these trees on their own merit and explained that the designation should move forward regardless of any proposed projects. Declaring these trees as heritage trees would protect them now and in the future as the use of this land changes.  After a several month process and numerous presentations to the Heritage Preservation Commission and City Council, these trees were declared Heritage Resources.  In response, the developer moved the buildings on the corner back far enough to preserve the trees. Enjoy the view!