The city of Los Angeles approved the controversial removal of numerous mature trees by chainsaw crews at the landmark Chase Knolls apartment complex in Sherman Oaks, destroying always needed trees and the special character of the historic property.
In 2000, the city designated Chase Knolls a historic-cultural monument. The complex, built in the late 1940s, is a showcase for L.A.’s unique “garden apartment” layout — the kind of thing that makes Los Angeles, Los Angeles.
Chase Knolls owner Waterton Associates, however, wanted to make so-called improvements at the historic property, and that meant scores of trees needed to be cut down. Chase Knolls residents strongly opposed the plan, but, with City Hall approval, the owner went ahead with putting chainsaws to the trees.
“The sound of the chainsaws was like a nightmare coming true,” says resident Barry Cullison. “I was depressed and sick to my stomach. I felt helpless.”
Recently, under intense public pressure, city officials temporarily halted the removal project, but residents don’t know what City Hall will ultimately decide. Too often, L.A. officials fall on the side of developers and landlords in such disputes.
“Angelenos should know that our politicians are selling out to developers,” says Chase Knolls resident Honey Anne Haskin. “Approval of these kinds of projects that cause rampant density and traffic nightmares are altering our neighborhoods to such an extent that they’ll soon be unlivable.”
The residents are now preparing for a major fight.
Photos courtesy of Chase Knolls Residents and Neighbors Association
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