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55-year-old Redwood tree on crooked Lombard Street may net landmark status

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A Redwood tree on Montclair Terrace, a small street that intersects with the crooked portion of Lombard Street, is under consideration for landmark status. (Courtesy helplandmarkthisredwood.com)

A Redwood tree a stone’s throw from Lombard Street’s “crookedest” section may soon achieve landmark status.

You might call it a landmark near a landmark.

The tree in question is a 55-year-old Redwood tree on Montclair Terrace, a small street jutting out from the middle of The City’s famous crooked street, which itself made headlines last week over a proposal to explore charging visitors to drive down the winding roadway.

Some neighbors are seeking approval for landmark status from the Department of the Environment’s Urban Forestry Council as part of the Landmark Tree Program, which “identifies and preserves” The City’s “best trees,” according to the department.

Though the landmark status is meant to encourage “deeper appreciation” of The City’s trees, according to the Department of the Environment, it would also make removing the tree illegal — and subject to monetary fines and jail time.

At an Urban Forestry Council meeting on Jan. 27, one neighbor, Rachel Kasabian, said, “I just want to make sure the council is aware that the neighbors are incredibly concerned and vehemently opposed to this nomination,” though she did not specify why.

Meri Jaye, a Montclair Street resident whose home is near the tree, said, “It is a phenomenal tree. A hundred feet in the air and still growing … We are so fortunate for thousands, and I mean thousands, for all the visitors, all the tourists, all the foreigners, all the children, who go in and out and up the stairs” to visit the tree.

Ron Henggeler read a poem in tribute to the tree: “The Redwoods,” by Joseph Strauss.

The forestry council sent an evaluation team to rate the tree to recommend it, or not, for landmark status, and those who visited were mostly in favor of recommending landmark status, according to their evaluation reports.

A committee of the forestry council was subsequently set to discuss the tree’s potential landmark status on Jan. 27, but a technical problem in the process prompted the committee to postpone discussion for a later date.

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