PG&E Tree Removal at Alto Substation


On Thursday, February 27th, City staff and Vice-Mayor Sashi McEntee met with approximately twenty community members at Hauke Parke to speak with residents about PG&E’s recent tree removal and the resulting visibility of the substation. Community members suggested a variety of ideas to address the situation, primarily focused on screening the site. The group requested that PG&E and City host an evening community meeting to solicit further input and discuss screening concepts for the facility that would then be incorporated into a long-term plan.

City staff is working with PG&E to facilitate additional community input. The City will continue to provide future updates to the community.

PG&E’s Alto Substation has existed in Mill Valley for over 100 years. The substation was previously screened from most views from the adjacent Enchanted Knolls neighborhood, Hauke Park, Pickleweed Marsh and bike path, Community Center, Middle School by over one hundred mature trees (mostly Italian Stone Pine, but including some Coast Live Oak, Eucalyptus, and Coast Redwood). The substation was probably most visible adjacent to the Longfellow Road / Roque Moraes Drive intersection, which is mostly gravel in front of the screening fence.

After notifying the City in September 2019, PG&E commenced vegetation management operations around this important facility to address years of deferred maintenance that posed a substantial hazard to the facility and community. While supporting the deferred maintenance work, the City requested that PG&E work with the City to maintain vegetative screening around the perimeter in order to retain a positive aesthetic appearance and screen the facility from public views. City staff met with PG&E crews prior to the tree removal work to understand the goals of the operation and clearance requirements and identified perimeter vegetation that should be retained if feasible.

Following the necessary tree removal that occurred at the site, the City has received feedback from the community to consider long-term plans for replanting screening vegetation around the perimeter of the facility that prioritize safety from threats such as tree fall and wildfires. 

City’s Point of Contact

Steve Ross, Senior Planner or 384-4805.