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1 <br /> <br />John N. Martin, Ph.D. <br />P.O. Box 9536 <br />14909 Northwood Blvd <br />Truckee, CA <br />Aug 6. 2013 <br />TO: Town of Truckee Planning Commission <br />FROM: John N. Martin, 14909 Northwoods Blvd, Truckee, CA <br /> <br />RE: Tahoe Donner Revised Plans <br /> <br /> I have been following the evolution of Tahoe Donner’s Marina proposals closely since <br />their inception. I would like to make the following remarks on the latest versions. <br /> <br />The Trees <br /> <br /> The new plans call for planting some new Jeffrey pines, but somewhat misleadingly <br />present drawings of the resulting project as it will be in several generations time when the new <br />tress are mature. Tree removal remains excessive, and as far as I can tell, the plans are <br />inconsistent on how many and which trees are to be removed. The Engineer’s covering letter <br />announces that fewer trees will be removed than originally planned, and the accompanying “Tree <br />Map” marks only 12 trees for removal. The plan’s summary, however, still calls for the removal <br />of 20 Jeffrey pines of diameter greater than 6 inches. Of the 12 trees marked for removal on the <br />“Tree Map,” six are to be removed because they conflict, by only a few feet, with the current <br />construction plans. <br /> If more trees are to be preserved, the revisions are to be applauded. Although it is <br />undisputed that several of the trees that were originally condemned are unhealthy or dangerous, <br />the Commission should now be aware that Tahoe Donner’s “Forester’s Report” of 2/15/13 <br />justifying the large scale tree removal is controversial. Independent arborists have criticized the <br />report for employing open forest thinning standards inappropriate to the Donner Lake setting, <br />and the Commission’s Staff reports on previous versions of the plans have called for the <br />preservation of as many of the trees as possible. Tahoe Donner has also failed to address an <br />“elephant in the room,” namely that the grading and trenching will certainly affect the remaining <br />trees. The three part excavation – the grading for pathways, the lowering of the upper lawn by <br />several feet, and the digging of deep trenches for lighting – is immediately adjacent to the <br />existing trees and will certainly impact their root systems. Precautions should be required to <br />project the remaining trees and monitor their future health. I urge the Commission to: <br /> <br />• Make Tahoe Donner clarify precisely how many and which trees will be removed. <br />• As recommended by the independent arborist’s report, require that construction be <br />redesigned to extend the drip lines of the remaining trees and to provide the air space <br />necessary to avoid root damage.