SAN MATEO -- A judge has handed a victory to a group of homeowners in a lawsuit against the San Mateo County Community College District over its removal of about 200 large trees.

The Hillsborough residents claimed the district did not properly notify them or perform an adequate environmental review before chopping down the trees, which provided a buffer between College of San Mateo and homes to the north.

Last month San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Clifford Cretan sided with the homeowners, who petitioned for the district to go through with an environmental review for the past tree-cutting as well as future campus construction in that area. The neighbors, who dubbed themselves Citizens for a Green San Mateo, also requested that the district study possible ways to reduce the impact of the January 2011 tree removal on the neighborhood.

The district must now decide whether to commence the review or appeal the judge's decision, said Sabrina Teller, attorney for the district.

"We'll be making a decision soon to pursue one of those options," she said.

Contact Aaron Kinney at 650-348-4357. Follow him at Twitter.com/kinneytimes.



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