RANCHO SANTA FE – Stop cutting down trees on the Rancho Santa Fe Golf Course immediately, an alarmed Association Board told golf club officials. “They didn’t tell anyone they have already taken down 40 trees,” said Ann Boon who serves on the Association Board and who is a member of the Committee on the Natural Environment. “We said Whoa! Whoa! Stop! You have to take this to the Art Jury. You have to take this to the Association.
“The golf course is an important asset to the community and trees are the signature look of the community,” she said.
The golf club’s master plan calls for cutting down a total of 150 to 200 trees.
“It’s a huge number of trees and will affect the look of the community,” Boon said. “The golf club belongs to all the residents and everyone should have a voice.”
Al Castro, general manager of the golf club said the club is in the process of revising its master plan, which includes a tree plan.
“In the past, there was not a clear strategy where we added or deleted trees,” Castro said. “There are a number of trees that are planted too close to each other and there are a number of trees that are of the wrong species. There are some trees that don’t do well when they are hit by golf balls.”
He said some areas are compromised by having too much shade.
“What we are doing is opening windows by spacing them out a little better to open windows of sunlight,” Castro said.
“We are specifically putting this out to our golf club members for input and feedback,” he said. “Then we will take it back to the Association and Art jury and make sure every Association homeowner has the opportunity to give their input.”
The Association had a look at the master plan last week, Boon said.
“We were very confused about the number of trees they plan to remove,” she said.
She said the Association has asked golf club officials to put yellow ribbons on each of the trees that are planned for removal and have them numbered on a map so community members can easily walk around and see which trees are slated for removal.
“They have only small red dots on them now,” she said.
Boon said one of the reasons the trees are being removed is because their presence is detrimental to the some of the greens and fairways.
“One of the reasons listed on the master plan says it will promote a long term goal to change the landscape at the golf course to a more California native look.
In addition the plan says less shade will let in more sun and allow the grass to grow better, she said.
“To my knowledge that is not a goal that has been established and the golf club board has not brought this to the Association Board for approval,” she said. “It appears to us they are taking out perfectly healthy trees and leaving dead and dying trees that need to come out.”
Castro, said during the remodeling of the golf course in 2001, the tree plan was approved by both the art jury and the community.
“Now we re updating that plan to reflect what we would like to do going forward,” Castro said.
Bill Beckman, chairman of the CONE Committee and former president of the Association, said it appears there was a misunderstanding about the procedure of removing trees.
“From this point forward there will discussions before cutting any more trees.”
He said now every appropriate step will be taken.
“I believe that all the right parties are involved in dialogue at this point and there will be an appropriate outcome from the discussions,” Beckman said.
Beckman said it is important that all the committees keep in touch and have good, healthy relationships.
“The CONE Committee is an ad hoc committee of the Association board and the golf club is a sub-entity of the Association. As such all of these groups have a close relationship with one another. It is good to have good communication and a good relationship among all of these entities,” he said.
Residents can see the master plan which is posted at the players club at the golf course.