Micheltorena and State War-Zone Look

The corner of Micheltorena and State looks like a war zone with the coral trees ripped out.
Wendy Carlson

How does one of the most beautiful, historical sanctuaries in all of Santa Barbara go from a lush wonderland to war-zone-looking devastation? A Saturday in June while in a soothing yoga class, we heard an earth-shattering noise (which lasted hours) directly next door. They seemed to be trimming the five magnificent coral trees at 1436 State Street. The next Saturday the same earth-shattering noise again interrupted our peaceful class, and for several following Saturdays.

Most employees of Village Properties and Merrill Lynch were shocked upon returning to work on Monday morning. After speaking with several employees, this is what I was told:

The owner, who doesn’t live in Santa Barbara (absentee landlord) said the trees were too fragile and a limb might fall on someone. Not true! If a branch were to fall, it wouldn’t hit anyone the trees were not over, or even near parking lot, sidewalk, or street. The general opinion is that the owner didn’t want to pay for high water bills and landscaping costs, and was afraid of a possible lawsuit.

I don’t understand how the Historic Landmarks Commission and Santa Barbara City would permit destroying five Chinese coral trees, and the entire sanctuary (containing numerous beautiful species of plants). This spot brought joy to countless employees, locals, tourists, not to mention birds, squirrels, chipmunks, etc.

Seemingly the owner is going to replace what was. How do you replace trees hundreds of years old? I would hate to see this happen again. Maybe its time to question the Historic Landmarks Commission!

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