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Rudolph's Coffee, city, battle over silk floss tree 

The owners of Rudolph's Coffee claim the silk floss tree adjacent to the shop's entrance is both messy and touching the building's awning. The Downtown Association claims the tree is ineligible for removal, as it is on city property.

Rudolph's Coffee, city, battle over silk floss tree

Not too many people favor cutting down a tree. Especially the Downtown Association, which wrote in its latest newsletter berating one of its members asking for the removal, that the tree in question will not be coming down, period.

Who would dare to do such a thing? What business, what tree, and where?

One New Times reporter, on a search to find out, stopped to have coffee along the way and realized after awhile that he was drinking java under the very tree for which he was searching.

Rudolph's Coffee and Tea Company on Higuera was the business, and the tree was a silk floss.

The complaint: the tree was messy, the fallen leaves were slippery, the large blossoms became missiles, the roots were pushing up the surrounding sidewalk, and the trunk was leaning against the business' awning.

In reaction to all this, Deborah Cash, administrator for the Downtown Association, wrote, "A Downtown business attempted to apply for removal of one of Downtown's most beautiful trees, a silk floss with beautiful foliage and flowers - the only other specimen graces the entry to the Mission. The tree's crime? It's messy and it's touching the awning; another perspective is that the awning is touching the tree. Anyhow, the point is moot: the tree is on City property and is not eligible for removal by the property owner."

Rudolph's owner Rene Scarnegi said the tree has become a liability, with customers slipping and tripping. City arborist Ron Combs said he received the request but has turned it down because no one else is saying the tree is a hazard and besides the awning could be hanging over city property.

So future such confrontations don't branch out, Cash says the city hopes to hire a consultant to help with its urban forest management plan.

Nonetheless, Scarnegi maintains the silk floss remains a liability, and added, "What a stupid place to plant that kind of a tree in the first place."

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