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CdM Today

July 17, 2010|By Amy Senk
  • City Council members agreed not to let King Palm trees grow tall enough to block ocean views.
City Council members agreed not to let King Palm trees… (Daily Pilot )

City Promises Oasis Palms Won't Block Views

Neighbors who live above the new Oasis Center have one less thing to worry about after City Council members agreed not to let King Palm trees grow tall enough to block ocean views.

The trees, worth between $50,000 and $60,000, caused some homeowners in the Harbor View Hills South neighborhood to worry that they would grow and block views. The City Council discussed the issue at its July 6 Study Session.

"Slowly but surely, my view of old Corona del Mar is diminishing," said Jim Digrado, who lives on Sandcastle Drive overlooking the senior center that is being built at Marguerite and Fifth avenues. "My view has slowly diminished because of city trees."

Project architects, landscapers and city staff members told council members that they were able to buy 26 King Palm trees from a San Diego estate. The trees average about 30 to 40 years old with a lifespan of 70 to 80 years, and while in their native Australian rainforest they might grow to 40 feet, locally they likely would not grow taller than 30 feet.

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Neighbors who testified said they would prefer having a written document, promising that the city would replace the trees if in fact nature took its course and the trees grew taller than expected.

City Councilwoman Nancy Gardner said she thought this was fair, and Mayor Keith Curry asked the city attorney to draft a letter to send to impacted homeowners associations, promising that the city would replace the trees if and when they affected views.

Councilman Ed Selich said that palm trees are so valuable that the city could likely make a profit if they ever did try to sell trees because they were too tall for the neighborhood.

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International Real Estate Office To Open Corona del Mar Branch

An international real estate company that specializes in luxury homes is moving into the former Belmaison space at 3636 E. Coast Hwy.

Engel & Volkers will open by mid-August, associate broker Gil Wenck said.

Wenck said the company was founded in 1977 and is based in Hamburg, Germany. Engel & Volkers has 405 offices in 35 countries on five continents, he said, and began opening offices in the United States about five years ago on the East Coast. California offices began opening last September, and the Corona del Mar branch will be about the 20th, including an office on Balboa Island and one in Irvine.

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