California Native Plant Society Reaches Settlement Protecting Live Oaks and Funding Woodland Restoration

Munger, Tolles & Olson represented the California Native Plant Society (CNPS) in obtaining a settlement with Oakland’s Mountain View Cemetery. The agreement, announced on April 3, 2018, will add protection for several hundred coast live oak trees and provide a financial boost for oak woodland conservation.

As part of the agreement, Mountain View Cemetery will implement measures to protect at-risk oak trees during grading and construction, fund an independent arborist to monitor those activities, and plant additional oak trees on-site than required by their permit conditions. The cemetery will also make a significant financial contribution to off-site oak woodland conservation and restoration projects to be selected and directed by CNPS.

Munger, Tolles & Olson litigator Martin D. Bern represented CNPS in the deal. In a press release, Mr. Bern states, “CNPS is already identifying local projects where funds provided by this settlement will be used to protect and restore oak woodlands locally. We hope that these efforts will preserve these iconic trees for generations to come, as well as increase awareness of their environmental importance.”

Prior to the settlement, the cemetery received approval from the Oakland Planning Department to proceed with the development of 6,300 new burial sites, many of which will have unobstructed views of San Francisco Bay.

CNPS appealed the planning department’s decision to the Oakland City Council, arguing that the environmental review of the project did not sufficiently analyze the impact that construction could have on hundreds of at-risk protected coast live oak trees. CNPS withdrew its appeal once the settlement was reached.