Grease for the Palms
|December 9, 2016 - Two grand Canary Island Palms that once towered over the old Twin Palms restaurant have been reduced to sawdust, but the owner will have to pay for not having a permit|
The owner of a once-popular but long-closed restaurant in Old Pasadena who allegedly cut down two protected palm trees without permission could face stiff fines and prosecution by the City Attorney’s Office, the Pasadena Weekly has learned.
Sunshine Management Group LLC, owned by Jack Guiragosian, owns Twin Palms Restaurant, so named for two 35-feet-tall Canary Palm Trees that once towered side-by-side over the corner of South DeLacey Avenue and West Green Street. The prime corner property located in the heart of the city’s trendy shopping and dining district is currently undergoing a major renovation and remodeling. The two trees were removed without a permit sometime late last month, a misdemeanor violation of the city’s tree ordinance which carries a $319 fine. The company also faces a $106 fine for a zoning violation. But there’s more.
Sunshine Management failed to file its landscaping plan after being told in April that the plan for the renovation had to take into consideration the tree canopy, according to city Public Information Officer William Boyer. The trees are protected under the city’s tree ordinance by virtue of their size and species.
Councilman Steve Madison, whose district includes Twin Palms, called on the city to impose the maximum punishment possible on Guiragosian.
“I am appalled that this occurred and I am impressing upon the City Attorney’s Office and staff to seek all applicable remedies to the extent permitted by law,” Madison said in a statement to the Weekly.
Madison could get his wish.
Unless a landscape plan is filed with the city, the company faces more fines that could total $3,216. The company, which must also pay $2,638 to replace the trees, will also have to pay for city staff time and resources used to bring the project into compliance. All told, Sunshine Management could pay fines and other costs totaling more than $7,000, Boyer said.
Boyer said the city’s Planning Department contacted the City Attorney’s Office and asked them to consider filing criminal charges, but Boyer said, “There has been no decision made as far as I know on whether or not they will prosecute this.”
The property owner must also either preserve or properly remove wrought iron grilles created by famed architect Myron Hunt that were embedded into the restaurant’s walls.
Sunshine Management was scheduled to have a meeting with the city’s Design Committee later this month, but that meeting has been placed on hold for now.
“The amount is being calculated and will have to be paid before there is any issuance of any building permits,” Boyer said. “As a result of the alleged violation, the project will not be up for design review until all fines are paid.”
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