Saving the Sycamores

A Studio City neighborhood rallies together to save some mature sycamore trees.

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  • Written by
    Judith Stock

Discreetly tucked behind the chichi retail shops and eateries along what is arguably the swankiest part of the Boulevard lies Cantura Street, a charming, two-block expanse of homes built in the 1920s. The defining element of that neighborhood, though, is the century-old, 100-foot-tall sycamores lining both sides of the street.

“The trees cool the street during our blazing summers, clean the air and add value to our homes and our lives,” says longtime resident Nora Doyle.

Enter developers who have cut down five of the beauties over the past few years during home construction to create wider driveway aprons. Closing ranks, concerned neighbors formed a group to save the sycamores (spearheaded by Nora) and ultimately garnered the support of the LA City Council. A proposed historic designation, which would save the trees from demolition, is expected in the first quarter of 2015.

  • The sycamore tree is one of the oldest species of trees on earth and considered a symbol of strength, protection and eternity.
  • Ancient sycamore trees are referenced in the Bible and the Book of the Dead from Egyptian antiquity.
  • One of the tree’s claims to fame is that it’s highly resistant to pollution.
  • On October 7, 2014, the motion to nominate Cantura Street’s sycamore trees as a Historic Cultural Monument was passed by a vote of 12 to 0 by the city council.
  • On August 29, Krekorian presented a motion to the Planning Department Office of Historic Resources to begin the nomination process to designate the sycamore trees along both sides of Cantura Street as a Historic Cultural Monument in the city of Los Angeles.
  • The mighty tree can grow to 100 feet tall with a diameter of 6 feet.
  • On August 16, 2014, residents tied green ribbons around 105 trees on the two blocks between Vantage Avenue and Rhodes Avenue, with a tag linked to the electronic petition.
  • On August 10, 2014, Nora Doyle obtained 19,000 petition signatures to prevent more trees from being cut down.
  • Krekorian says he will take whatever steps are necessary to save the trees, adding that they convey character and beauty to the neighborhood.
  • On August 9, 2014, LA City Councilman Paul Krekorian, Second District, met with neighbors and viewed the trees.