They’re planted by country clubs, golf courses and the railroads to block dust, they’re called tamarisk trees. Now, United Pacific is cutting them down in Palm Desert near Palm Valley Country Club.
“They took the trees down and the noise pollution and the air pollution and the landscape pollution have spilled over into our country club,” Jan Pinza, a resident at the country club, said.
The trees have been around for 80 to 100 years.
“With the development that’s happened over the years since those trees were planted, there’s less wind-blown sand in that area,” United Pacific spokeswoman Hannah Bolte said.
With no notice to affected residents, the trees were removed.
“We have a total view of the height of the railway as it passes every 45 minutes or so, so it’s really quite serious for us because we don’t know what to do,” Jana Watt, another resident, said.
“It needs to be remedied,” Pinza said. “Right now we’re absorbing the noise, we’re not able to sleep, studies have shown that it affects your health.”
Union Pacific claims homeless individuals were living in the trees and lighting fires, forcing the instant removal. Some argue the dry debris from the trees is more of a safety concern now.
The neighbors who border the railroad track at the country club are petitioning for change.
“A sound wall would be number one and number two would be a replacement of the trees and a management of the homeless camps,” Pinza said.
Along with other urgent requests from renters.
“Who’s going to buy a condo with a train running right beside it?” Watt said.
Union Pacific said they plan to remove the dead trees but do not have a plan to build a sound barrier.
“We would like our city to force them to remedy the situation,” Pinza said. “In the absence of being able to get the railroad to do something, we expect the city to do something.”
The city claims the railroad is unincorporated land and belongs to Riverside County. Therefore, whatever comes next is out of their hands. The country club is a part of the city.