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Caltrans Suing Local Gas Stations For Allegedly Clearing Highway Trees

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CAMINO (CBS13) – It’s a lot more than tree trimming. What some are calling a hack job has the state suing for millions.

Tree branches were chopped to the trunk on public property in Camino.

It turns out you can see the forest through the trees, because there’s a big gaping hole through the trunks.

“I think it looks horrible,” said Matthew Jazdzewski.

But, boy does it open a nice, new clear view of the Vallero gas station right off Highway 50.

“Trashy, ugly,” Jazdzewski calls it.

There’s nothing but dry sap and signs of tree trauma where branches once sprouted. Now the trees look more like palm trees than pine trees, with branches at the top, but no branches that would block drivers’ views of the station.

Locals even have a name for it: “skirting”, but Caltrans says this isn’t skirting the law, it’s downright illegal.

There were 114 trees.

Caltrans blames the owner and is suing for nearly $3.5 million because of it. But not everyone’s against the super-sized tree trimming.

“If there’s a hundred trees here, I would’ve never seen the gas station and I was running on empty,” said Yubini Barrero.

The business owner tells CBS13 Caltrans is being a bully and trying to make an example of them, but they’re not the only ones getting served. It’s a similar story at a Chevron in Roseville on Riverside.

Caltrans is suing for $750,000 after, they say, public trees and brush were removed.

Were businesses looking to cut a path to higher profits? Whatever the reason, the state is looking for them to cut a big check as payback.

CBS13 reached out to Chevron owners of the Roseville gas station, but they haven’t returned our requests for a comment.

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