DC Ranch Homeowners Face $16.3K Fee Each to Remove Trees

By Melissa Rosequist | Scottsdale Independent

A small forest’s worth of trees are at risk for removal because of aggressive root damage occurring in the Arcadia at Silverleaf neighborhood of DC Ranch, which residents have banded together to fight.

Arcadia at Silverleaf has 123 homeowners, who would bear the brunt of the total estimated $2 million cost — $16,341 per home — if the project receives city approval and moves forward.

Scottsdale’s Development Review Board is slated to hear case 6-DR-2021, removal of Sissoo trees, on Aug. 19.

In total, 670 Sissoo trees have been identified as needing to be removed from streetscapes and rights of way within Arcadia at Silverleaf because of root damage, which DC Ranch officials believe will continue to get worse.

Residents, who believe some trees can be saved or alternative solutions may be sought, have hired legal counsel and garnered an arborist’s opinion. Many letters in opposition have been received by the city, while one official said in March that two emails of support have been received.

DC Ranch Homeowners Association officials say, however, the risk to the neighborhood’s infrastructure — above and below ground — remains at risk.

“Over the course of the last two years, roughly $100,000 has been spent,” DC Ranch Association Executive Director Darren Shaw told the Independent. “If nothing is done, more damage will be caused by the trees’ root systems.”

Shaw says the neighborhood was first made aware of Sissoo concerns in 2015; meanwhile homeowners believe the HOA hasn’t been transparent in its role of the root damage.

A records request shows numerous emails have been sent and received about the Sissoo Trees, starting with a January 2020 email to Scottsdale environmental planner Sam Brown from Silverleaf resident Thomas La Porte.

Following La Porte’s email to Brown, Scottsdale Senior Planner Jesus Murillo was assigned to this case.

Officially, DC Ranch submitted a formal application to Scottsdale in February that details plans to remove 670 Sissoo trees and replace them with Evergreen Elm. A new irrigation system with fertilization capabilities is to be installed, according to documents, as part of the work to aid in the trees’ acclimation growth.

Murillo said because DC Ranch’s original landscaping plan with the plat shows the trees, any amendments to it must be approved.

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Update: Sissoo Trees to remain in Scottsdale Neighborhood (subscriber content)

Councilwoman Littlefield made a motion to deny the HOA’s request; the motion passed 6-0.