LA City Controller Kenneth Mejia tweeted two comparison pictures. The one on the left was apparently taken last week while the picture on the right shows how the trees looked on Monday.
"With cooperation from the Bureau of Street Services, we have found that no tree trimming permits have been issued over the last three years for this location outside Universal Studios. Also, the City did not issue any tree trimming permits for the latest tree trimmings. The City of LA's Urban Forestry Division (UFD) will coordinate w/ StreetsLA’s Investigation & Enforcement Division (IED) to confirm if this case warrants the issuance of an administrative citation or hearing. If issued, the administrative citation fee starts at $250," Mejia said.
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According to Mejia, the trees are city managed street trees, and it is the responsibility of the Public Works' Bureau of Street Services (Streets) to maintain the city's 700,000+ trees that are in the public right-of-way.
"Trees can be trimmed by a StreetsLA Urban Forestry Division (UFD) crew as part of its trim cycle, or as part of a Council District’s trimming allotment. A business can also obtain a permit to trim a tree. StreetsLA issues permits to businesses & conducts follow-up inspections," Mejia added.
Violations can result in code enforcement citations.
The studio has since released a statement saying the act wasn't malicious or intended to create issues, and that the trees are pruned annually this time of year because of safety issues.