In 1905, Jessie Sollom, original settler and rancher John Reed's granddaughter, developed what we now call the Tamalpais Park neighborhood of Mill Valley, California. Her design included narrow, winding streets similar to those she had admired in Kentucky; accommodation for horses, horse-drawn buggies and small wagons; and the planting of trees to match the names of the streets.
Seventy-five years later, in 1980, the Tamalpais Park Neighborhood Association (TPNA) was created to promote the general welfare of the neighborhood. TPNA continues to the present day with leadership provided by Board members from the Tamalpais Park neighborhood.
One of the first actions by the TPNA was to address the condition of the trees throughout the neighborhood. In February 1981, Charlotte Osborn and her Elm Avenue neighbor Lois Walker, met with the Mill Valley City Council to:
The City Council agreed, and appointed Don Hunter, Director of Mill Valley Parks and Recreation Department, to take overall responsibility and immediate action to sustain the Tamalpais Park neighborhood street trees. With unanimous support from the City Council and an appropriation of $36,000, Don commissioned an arborist to survey the trees most needing care, initiated the inventory and documentation of a maintenance plan for each of the existing 253 street trees, removed 11 dying trees, and established policies and procedures for maintaining Tamalpais Park neighborhood trees.
While victorious, Charlotte and the TPNA Board were not finished.
They next petitioned the City of Mill Valley to create a plan for long-term sustainability of the Tamalpais Park neighborhood trees. This plan included the formation of a unique district within the City of Mill Valley for the purpose of supporting a long-term, sustainable tree program – the Tamalpais Park Tree Assessment District.
Upon completion of the initial maintenance on the trees by the City of Mill Valley, Charlotte and her team set about to educate everyone in the neighborhood about the value and condition of the trees, and at the same time introduce and explain the new assessment district whose sole purpose would be to maintain and sustain the trees for generations to come.
In the Spring of 1982, citizens of the Tamalpais Park neighborhood approved the creation of the assessment district, with a modest annual fee assessed to each property. Today, that fee is $35 per year for properties without street trees in front of the house, and $50 per year for properties with street trees in front of the house.
The success of the assessment district and plan is obvious as you drive in the Tamalpais Park neighborhood. The abundance of trees are continually evaluated, maintained and replaced with new trees.
A remarkable story of great foresight by Charlotte and her team, the TPNA, the City of Mill Valley, and the residents of the Tamalpais Park neighborhood.
It is a violation of City of Mill Valley ordinances and hurtful to future generations to prune or remove a street tree.
If you have questions, notice any problems with a tree anywhere in the Tamalpais Park neighborhood, or see damage from vehicles hitting a tree or persons attempting to cut or prune a tree, please immediately contact Anthony Boyd at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 415-388-4242.
You may also contact Charlotte Osborn at 415-383-1965, or any member of the TPNA Board of Directors, or you can email: info@TPNA.org.