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Lompoc neighbors weigh in on city's historic, but aging trees

Posted at 4:31 PM, Aug 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-22 19:52:01-04

Some people in Lompoc are concerned about the city's historic trees and the hazards they say they are creating.

"Random things still happen," said Lompoc mother Stephanie Abbott. "A huge branch fell down, down the way, and my kids were like, 'Oh, my gosh! Good thing, you know, we weren't walking at that time!"

Friday morning, the City of Lompoc's Urban Forestry Division climbed into the branches of the tree on South H Street sawing off unstable branches and clearing away the mess left behind.

"There might be some concerns, but I think that the city addresses that," said Lompoc resident Elisa Wolfe. "I have lived here for 12 years now and I have observed that the city is pretty good about maintaining the trees. They cut off dead branches and I have noticed that every year they do some kind of maintenance and they trim them."

"That big one right here at the corner, it seems to have a little problems because it is the biggest tree of all. Yesterday, the city had to cut some branches down because it was hanging," added Maria Sanchez, who has also noticed the issues of aging trees in her neighborhood.

Some locals say the benefits of these longstanding pines outweigh the potential hazards that come with them.

"It lends a lot of character of the city, and they provide a lot of shade. It makes the whole place look peaceful," remarked Wolfe.

"I don't like to park on the street because there are a lot of pine cones that fall, and a lot of sap that drips off the pines," said Southside Coffee Company owner Halle Bedford. "I think they are beautiful and I have noticed that some of the sidewalks and the roads get messed up from the roots, but I don't have an issue with them."

The Urban Forestry Division maintains nearly 18,000 trees across city streets and local parks. They also allow for neighbors to request new trees be planted by their homes.

But other locals are encouraging more attention to the ones that are aging out.

"I am not an arborist, but I mean, the trees are very large, very old and very heavy," Abbott said.

"You don't want anyone getting hurt and having a tree fall on top of their head," added Lompoc resident Hernan Torres.

KSBY reached out to the City of Lompoc's Urban Forestry Division on Friday, but they were unavailable to comment on possible updates to their tree maintenance services.

On Monday, City officials told KSBY a majority of the trees along this stretch of road are roughly 80 years old but have a lifespan of up to 150 years.

They say the trees are inspected approximately every three to four years and work or tree removal is done as needed.

Lompoc residents or anyone with questions or concerns about any tree in the city are encouraged to call (805) 875-8034.

Anyone who sees any fallen or unstable trees are asked to call the Urban Forestry Division at (805) 305-8034.