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Why Trees are Important in Irvine and Every Community

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 04:00 AM PDT

Having recently observed Arbor Day and Earth Day, it is a good time to review the benefits that trees provide us in the Irvine community as well as other communities.

Landscaping maintained by the Irvine Public Works Department

First, a bit about Irvine and its history with trees: The Irvine's Public Works Department maintains over 63,000 trees, which includes over 30 eucalyptus windrows. These publically owned trees are pruned under the supervision of certified International Society of Arboriculture(ISA) arborists to comply with ISA standards. And, of course, many privately owned trees can be seen landscaping various Irvine yards. According to a City of Irvine press release, some of the most popular trees in Irvine are pines, sycamore, sweetgum, Crape Myrtle and ficus.

In addition,Irvine has been an Arbor Day Tree City for 24 years. Also, Shadetree Partnership  is located on UC Irvine's campus and has a partnership with the Irvine Ranch Water District. Shadetree is a non-profit, volunteer organization that plants and provides stewardship of shade trees that Shadetree donates to parks, schools, and other public property.

In some cases, the value of trees is obvious; in other cases, not so much. American Forest illuminates the benefits that trees provide by placing them into three main categories: economic, social, and environmental. (American Forest is the oldest nonprofit conservation organization in the country and has planted more than 45 million trees and restored watersheds to help provide clean drinking water.) Many of the benefits could fit into more that one of these categories, but here is some of what American Forest says concerning the benefits that trees provide:

Economic benefits are both direct and indirect. Depending on where trees are planted, they can reduce air-conditioning and heating cost. The aesthetics that trees provide increases property values of not only individual homes, but also neighborhoods, and business districts. In addition, trees can control storm water and flooding, thereby saving the community money.

Social benefits include increased health, aesthetic, and recreational opportunities. Trees provide protection from harsh sunlight and ultraviolet rays, reduce noise pollution, and provide areas that encourage outdoor activities as well as relaxation.

Environmental benefits include improved climate and air quality, as well as preventing water runoff and improving water quality.

Trees absorb pollutants from the air, with the main pollutant being carbon dioxide. A mature tree absorbs approximately 48 pounds per year of carbon dioxide. In addition, tree release oxygen, which, of course, is the stuff we need for breathing.

Trees hold topsoil in place, and since healthy topsoil retains more water than eroded soil, ground water evaporation is greatly reduced.* The shade from the trees also plays a part in preventing water evaporation. This reduction in evaporation is especially useful during a drought and good for the budget in the form of lower water bills whether there is a drought or not. Also, tree roots filter pollution from groundwater. The results are improved groundwater quality as well as healthier rivers and streams.

*The following quotes were noted in a previous post (Irvine Farmer Markets, National Ag Week, and a Few More Thoughts), but they are relevant to this subject and worth repeating here:

"Absent carbon and critical microbes, soil becomes mere dirt, a process of deterioration that's been rampant around the globe. Many scientists say that regenerative agricultural practices can turn back the carbon clock, reducing atmospheric CO2 while also boosting soil productivity and increasing resilience to floods and drought."—Soil as Carbon Storehouse: New Weapon in Climate Fight?

"According to the Ohio State University Extension, the number of microbes in a teaspoon of [healthy] soil is larger than that of people on Earth. Microbes in the soil are important in providing organic nutrition to plants, allowing them to grow." —Microbes in the Soil

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Irvine Housing Blog

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Open House Review: 12 Willowgrove

Posted: 29 Apr 2014 04:00 AM PDT

Woodbridge Two Level Condo in Inner Loop

12 Willowgrove $675,000

Turning off Warner onto West Yale Loop, and then onto Willowspring leads you to 12 Willowgrove, an immaculate two level inner loop condo that is long on finish but tight on outside space. Brand new to the market, about 4 days, this 3 bedroom, 2.25 bath home presents very well and attracted steady traffic this past weekend. The broker said it was already generating offers. This condo has one attached wall at the garage and looks and feels like a single family home in many ways. The element missing is a good sized outdoor space.

Significant Numbers: Built in 1978, the 1,825 sq. foot home has HOA dues of $346, at $370 a square foot. The lot is 2,500 sq. ft. All bedrooms are upstairs.

Close up: Nicely situated in a secluded inner loop area, the wrought iron gate opens to a front and side patio that's beautifully done in designer rock flagstone, accented with beds of roses and raised planter beds. Inside, the sleek wood entry leads to a large carpeted living room with a designer mantle marble finish fireplace and large shuttered windows. It's paired with a good sized formal dining room.

The wood floored all white kitchen with warm wood accents and the family room overlook the patio/atrium. Doors open to the patio. There is a powder room to the right off of the front entry.

Upstairs, the master suite includes two large closets and a bath with double sinks, granite counters, and a large shower.

Custom shutters throughout, coupled with sleek wood floors and snowy white carpet give this light filled home a poised elegance.

More specifics:
Two level condominium
Bedrooms, 3
Baths, 2-1/4
Attached, one common wall
Central furnace, newer central air
Laundry in garage
Double garage
Two parking spaces
Association pool, spa
Irvine Unified School District

What should be considered? The quiet attractive inner loop location near the park, pool, playground and North Lake will be noted along with the light filled layout and space available inside and out. The outer space is snug, but it has been skillfully utilized providing a comfortable dining area in the back and an exceptional entry and side yard.

Who will move in? Buyers looking for a two level home in the inner loop of the Woodbridge community will check this property. Top notch schools will attract young families and the choice lake recreation assets will appeal to all ages of buyers looking for a key spot in Irvine.

Recent nearby listings: 109 East Yale Loop, $659,000; 32 Wetstone, #45, $575,000.

Recent nearby sales: 28 Willowgrove #13, $630,000; 14 Northgrove #26, $715,000.

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Open House Review: 121 Arden

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 04:00 AM PDT

Today's condominium in Northwood Pointe is move-in ready with the potential of negotiating some of its furniture and stainless steel refrigerator.

Asking Price: $768,000
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 2.5
Square Footage: 1,677
Lot Size: -
$/Sq Ft: $458
Days on Market: 23
Property Type: Condominium
Year Built: 2001
Community: Northwood Pointe – Arden Square
HOA Fees: $122/month

There are Mello Roos taxes.

Upon entering the home, a short wall with a small opening to the kitchen is on the left.

The opening has plantation shutters so there is an option to close the shutters. To the right is a large window and sliding glass door leading out to the long driveway. Straight ahead is the staircase and in front of the kitchen is a large rectangular room consisting of the dining room and living room. The flooring throughout the entire first floor is polished porcelain tile. Plantation shutters are furnished throughout the home. The interior paint is clean and home is in excellent condition.

Through the kitchen's doorway is a refrigerator and pantry on the left. A window facing the front yard sits on the far wall. On the opposite wall from the pantry are white cabinets, gas stove and microwave hood vent. There is plenty of counter space and cabinets for storage. Wrapping around, the granite countertop continues to the double sink and dishwasher, which looks out to the great room. There are plantation shutters above the double sink which can be opened or closed.

The great room is light and bright with four large windows and a single glass door leading to the backyard. The dining area is a decent size and flows directly into the living area. There is a fireplace which sits between the staircase and a built-in entertainment center. Beyond the entertainment center is a short hallway with a large coat closet/storage which sits under the staircase, entrance to the garage and a half bathroom.

The garage has built in cabinets along the back wall. The half bathroom has an upgraded toilet with self-warming features amongst other capabilities. The same features are found on the other two toilets upstairs as well. There is a pedestal sink and a small window.

The backyard sports a rock waterfall in the corner and a built-in bar-b-que with bar for seating. It is hardscaped with rock slate, and has no grass. The shape of the small yard is L-shaped but leaves space for entertaining.

Going up to the second floor, a large window sits along the staircase. The stairs and bedrooms all have hardwood flooring. Once upstairs, the hallway has small windows, bringing in light to the second floor. The hallway is L-shaped where it leads to a laundry room and one bedroom to the right. The laundry room has a small window next to a set of cabinets which sit over the side by side washer and dryer. The bedroom is a basic size with two windows and a mirrored sliding-door closet.

Down the other hallway is one more secondary bedroom, a shared bathroom and down at the end is the master bedroom. A set of lower cabinets sit outside the master bedroom.

The other secondary bedroom appears slightly smaller, but has 3 windows and a mirrored sliding-door closet. The shared bathroom has a single sink with plenty of countertop space. The cabinets are white. The tub/shower combo is fiberglass so the tub and wall surround are fiberglass. There is a small window that sits above the tub/shower fiberglass wall.

The master bedroom is a good size room with a set of glass French doors leading out to a small balcony, which overlooks the front yard. There is a large walk-in-closet with a closet organizer installed. I am a big proponent for the bathroom's privacy door which keeps noise and light out of the bedroom in the mornings/evenings. The bathroom has dual sinks with a 4x4 white tiled counter top. The cabinets are white. The shower also has the 4x4 white tiles. The toilet is separate and has a small window in the room. It is in excellent condition.

This 3 bedroom home is turn-key is on a low-traffic private street. Everything is clean and nicely laid out. The property is also walking distance to its neighborhood elementary school. The home is zoned for Canyonview Elementary, Sierra Vista Middle School and Northwood High School. 

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