Orcutt girls prefer trees to development

By Luis Ernesto Gomez
Orcutt, CA (June 25, 2007)- A small but growing effort to plant trees instead of buildings on a 20-acre parcel in Orcutt is looking more like a civics lesson for the two girls spearheading the movement. “Tree Amigos” founders Sarah Schwab, 14, and her 12-year-old sister, Anna, have already collected 1,000 signatures in a petition to prevent development on Orcutt “Key Site 11”- on the corner Clark Avenue and Orcutt Road – and turn it into a commemorative tree grove.

Sarah Schwab, 14, left, and her sister Anna, 12, are gathering petitions to turn the 20-acre parcel behind their Orcutt home into a tree grove instead of a mixed-use development. So far the girls have collected 1,000 signatures.
Now that they’ve reached their signature goal – which Sarah said should keep community leaders interested – the girls are seeking 4,000 additional signatures. “We’re going to do it at a slow and easy pace,” Anna said in their Orcutt home, which has a backyard view of the heavily vegetated parcel where the Orcutt Creek runs through.
The sisters hope the parcel will be turned into a tree mitigation site where the public could plant trees in honor of a special date, such as the anniversary, a birth, death or even a pet. But a review process is already underway to turn the site into an apartment and retail building project proposed by Coker Ellsworth of Arroyo Grande. English-Joseph Property Investments – a local family operation – owns the land, Ellsworth said.
The project is up for “conceptual review” at a Santa Barbara County Planning Commission meeting July 11.
For the full article, visit Santa Maria Times.