SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A group is taking a stand for a tree in Midtown Sacramento that is threatened by development plans.

More than 70 trees were removed in Sacramento in 2016, but cutting down this one walnut tree, in particular, is being met with strong opposition.

The tree at the corner of I and 23rd streets has a 47-inch-wide trunk and is on the city’s private protected list. But that didn’t stop the preservation commission from approving its removal. Plans for a seven-unit apartment complex are the reason.

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Neighbors reached out to Kate Riley with Trees for Sacramento who filed an appeal to speak on behalf of the tree.

“It’s basically our last resort, our only way we can save this tree,” she said.

The advocacy group protects the urban canopy. This tree, in particular, Riley says, has shaded the historic neighborhood for decades.

“It’s a native tree,” she said. “It’s an unusual tree to be surviving in this urban environment and it’s gorgeous.”

But the city says it’s well within its rights to remove the tree.

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Removal of the private protected tree is necessary to develop the property for a multi-unit residential development as allowed within this zone. Moreover, the extensive root system of black walnut trees extends outward two to four times the tree’s canopy, making development of the parcel, while preserving the tree, unfeasible.

That zoning argument isn’t sitting well with Riley, who says the city is looking too broadly.

“This particular tree is an example of how we don’t agree with how the city has interpreted that code section—build whatever you want because he’s got the zoning,” she said. “It’s like not having a tree protection ordinance.”

Riley suggests downsizing the plans and preserving the tree.

“The City of Sacramento is the City of Trees, it’s got a reputation,” she said. “We’re asking them to live up to it.”

The Sacramento City Council will make its final decision at the meeting that starts at 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

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