A plan to chop down as many as 13,000 trees while repairing Los Angeles sidewalks has been halted by a judge, who sided with advocates who say the city can make the fixes while preserving the shade and greenery.
Superior Court judge Mitchell Beckloff declared the environmental impact report for the city’s proposed sidewalk repair program “fundamentally flawed," the Southern California News Group reported Saturday.
The judge's ruling last month came in a lawsuit filed by advocacy groups who accused the city of failing to consider alternative repair methods that would preserve mature trees.
“Other cities manage their sidewalk tree conflict easily and for whatever reason LA does not,” Jeanne McConnell of the group Angelenos for Trees told the news group.
The city argued that its sidewalk repair program and associated tree removals was a justified effort to comply with a 2016 class action settlement that requires LA to spend $1.4 billion to improve its walkways for those with disabilities.
The judge ruled that the impact report failed to thoroughly examine the effects on wildlife and the environmental consequences of trading mature trees for young replacement trees.
The city may now appeal the court’s decision, create a new environmental impact report to address the problems identified, or return to the drawing board with a new sidewalk repair plan.