By Jim Holt
Senior Investigative Reporter
For the second time in the space of a year, local environmentalists have filed a Brown Act violation notice claiming county supervisors failed to involve the public about changes to an ordinance concerning oak trees.
In a letter to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors dated March 1, members of the Santa Clarita Organization for Planning and the Environment, or SCOPE, allege the board’s agenda item discussed Feb. 23 regarding oak trees misled the public.
“This description deceptively led the public to believe that only minor adjustments to code,” SCOPE President Lynne Plambeck, wrote in her letter to the board.
“Nowhere does the description reference the County Oak Tree Ordinance and/or oak removal permitting process, changes to noticing or oak replacement requirements,” she wrote.
On Feb. 23, county supervisors authorized a “tune-up” the county’s planning code which, according to Plambeck and SCOPE members, would make it easier to cut down oak trees.
Some of the changes to Title 22 call for getting rid of the need to notify the public when oak trees are about to be cut down and changing what’s required when it comes to actually replacing them.
Plambeck asked the board to hold a separate hearing so concerned individuals would have a chance to comment and participate.
That didn’t happen.
SCOPE filed a Brown Act violation notice last May alleging the county failed to involve the public about changes to the oak ordinance. That litigation is ongoing.
The Brown Act was passed in 1953, guaranteeing the public a right to attend and participate in meetings of local legislative bodies.