RANCHO SANTA FE — The issue of cutting down trees on the Rancho Santa Fe Golf Course was back for discussion at the Dec. 6 Association meeting. However, this time it seemed some kind of understanding had been reached between the Committee on the Natural Environment, or CONE, and golf club officials.
Ann Boon, an Association board member as well as a CONE member, told the board that the two sides met on Dec. 3 and the only topic discussed was the issue of the golf course’s plan to remove a significant number of trees. Also at the meeting were members of the Art Jury and the president of the Green Committee at the golf club.
“The president of the golf club was there to explain the plan, although he said that the plan has not been finalized because it has not been approved by the golf club membership,” she said.
Late last month, the CONE committee became alarmed that trees on the golf course were being cut down at an alarming rate and that the golf club’s master plan called for removing 150 to 200 trees.
Boon said the golf club belongs to all the residents and everyone should have a voice in the issue that could affect the look of the community.
Al Castro, general manager of the golf club, said the club is in the process of revising its master plan established in 2001, which includes a tree plan.
“In the past, there was not a clear strategy where we added or deleted trees,” Castro said.
He said that many of the trees are planted too close to each other, some are diseased and that some of areas of the golf course 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.
Castro said they are in the process of putting the plan out to the golf membership for approval before putting before the Art Jury and then making sure the Association has the opportunity to provide input.
Boon said that her committee and the Association agreed that since the plan is more than 10 years old, any changes or updates to the plan should be reviewed according to the same process as the original plan.
“There was a consensus that the process and final approval will be up to our board,” Boon said.
She said because the golf club belongs to the entire community, not just to golf club members, the Association board needs to feel comfortable that the entire community is aware of what is being proposed and has the opportunity to comment.
“I think among members of the CONE, there is probably some confusion as to exactly why the trees need to be removed,” Boon said. “Some representatives of the golf club pointed to the need to improve the playability of the course in the winter and others cited the need to improve playability in the summer.”
So that everyone has a clear understanding of the plan, golf club officials have agreed to identify the trees they are proposing to remove as well as place stakes in the ground where they intend to plant new trees.
The community will have a chance to see the plan and provide input at a meeting at 4 p.m. Jan. 22 at the golf club.