Ann Davison Sattler for Seattle City Council District 5 – 2019 Questionnaire

Ann Davison Sattler District 5 Seattle City Council candidate

  1. SUPPORT FOR COUNCIL ORDINANCE RESOLUTION 31870 As part of the MHA Ordinance passage in March 2019 the Seattle City Council passed Resolution 31870. Section 6 of that Resolution called for updating Seattle’s Tree Protection Ordinance. Do you support that provision?

 Yes __x___ No _____

Optional Comment: Yes, it is long overdue and we need strong protections in place while we focus on catching up on our housing needs.

  1. SUPPORT FOR COUNCIL RESOLUTION 31902 The Seattle City Council on Sept. 16, 2019 passed  Resolution  31902  “declaring the City Council’s and the Mayor’s intent to consider strategies to protect trees and increase Seattle’s tree canopy cover.”  The resolution calls for the city  to update Seattle’s Tree Protection Ordinance in 2020 . Do you support this resolution for updating Seattle’s Tree Protection Ordinance?

  Yes ___x__ No _____

Optional Comment: I fully support updating the tree ordinance within my first year of office. I am bothered that there have been many calls for action, but no action taken.

  1. PERMITS FOR TREE REMOVAL AND REPLACEMENT Seattle’s current Tree Protection Ordinance SMC 25.11 is a complaint-based system for developed property. It is not working according to the 2017  Tree Regulations Research Project Report done by DCI and OSE. The report states that Exceptional trees and groves were being lost.  Trees were being removed from Environmental Critical Areas. Large conifers were being replaced with deciduous and dwarf species.  Do you support updating the ordinance to require permits to remove and replace trees, like SDOT does for street trees and like Portland, Lake Forest Park and other cities do for all trees removed?

Yes _____ No _____

Optional Comment: I think that we too often lag behind our smaller neighbors and refuse to learn from their best practices. I think we need a better system that people will follow and that avoids abuse. If permits are the best way to achieve that, then I am all for it.

    1. The Seattle Department of Transportation requires the posting on site of all tree removal and replacement permit applications for two weeks prior to trees removed. Do you support requiring Tree Removal and Replacement Permit Applications being  posted on site and on-line?

Yes __x___ No_____

Optional Comments:  Totally, I want more of our government visible to people online and I think that tree removals would fit well into this strategy.

  1. Do you support a Tree Removal and Replacement Permit being posted on site for a week after the tree is removed so that neighbors know it was taken down legally?

Yes __x___ No_____

Optional Comments This seems like a great idea. It helps with both accountability and transparency.

    1. REPLACEMENT OF TREES CUT DOWN – Many other cities require that trees removed, whether on developed property or property being developed, must be replaced. All trees 6” DBH and larger are currently required to be on development site plans. In the single-family zone, trees 6 inches DBH and larger represent about 48 % of the trees.  Do you support requiring tree replacement when trees larger than 6 inches DBH are removed?

Yes ___x__ No_____

Optional Comments Yes, trees are not only beautiful and shade producing, but they are the number one way to combat climate change -we literally need them to survive.

  1. FEE-IN-LIEU OF REPLACEMENT – Portland, OR and other cities allow for a fee to be paid to replace trees elsewhere if they cannot be replaced on the property where they were cut down. Seattle is considering an option to allow a fee in lieu to be paid to plant a new tree elsewhere and maintain it for 5 years. Replacement of trees in other areas can be sited based on race and social justice considerations. Do you support this option?

Yes _____ No_____

Optional Comments I support a fee-in-lieu only if it actually leads to a tree being planted. I want to make sure that we don’t follow the route the city took with the MHA where developers pay into a fund that the city mismanages or delays acting so we don’t see meaningful benefit from it.

    1. EXCEPTIONAL TREES are defined as “a tree or group of trees that because of its unique historical, ecological, or aesthetic value constitutes an important community resource”, including large trees, heritage trees and tree groves. They are protected by the current ordinance. Do you support continuing the protection of exceptional trees?

Yes _x____ No_____

Optional Comments Yes, exceptional trees take time to grow and we shouldn’t let them fall without good reason.

  1. LOWER LARGE TREE EXCEPTIONAL THRESHOLD The Urban Forestry Commission has recommended that the upper limit to declare a large tree exceptional be lowered from 30 inches diameter at breast height (DBH) to 24 inches DBH to save more large trees. Do you support this protection of more large trees?

Yes _____ No_____

Optional Comments I believe strongly that our leaders should listen to and be informed by experts. If they have a good case for why our definition needs to be updated, then it should be.

  1. DATABASE TRACKING OF TREE REMOVALS The Seattle Urban Forestry Commission has repeatedly recommended that the city use its database system to track all tree loss and replacement, both on developed property and property being developed. Such data will help the city monitor the changes occurring in the urban forest over time. This data would be collected through Tree Removal and Replacement Permits being entered into one system for both trees removed during development and trees removed on developed property. This data will help guide the City’s Urban Forest Management Plans. Do you support the implementation of the database program as directed by Mayor Burgess’s  Executive Order 2017-11 Tree Protection?

Yes ___x__ No _____

Optional Comment:  I think this too would fit well into my increased online transparency of our government. I would try to get a group like the school of forestry to help with it as they have expertise and working with them could lower costs and create a better outcome.

  1. ARBORIST REGISTRATION The Seattle Department of Transportation currently requires registration and certification for Tree Care Providers, like arborists, to help ensure they understand and comply with Seattle’s Tree Code and Regulations. Do you support requiring all Tree Care Providers working in Seattle to be registered and certified by the city as Portland already does?

Yes __x___ No _____

Optional Comment: Yes, a lot of tree work is dangerous and requires specialized skill. It makes sense that they should be registered.

  1. INVASIVE PLANT CONTROL Removal of invasive vegetation in our city parks has been a long and expensive project for the city under the Green Seattle Partnership. To protect this investment, it is important that invasive species like English ivy and holly trees not get re-introduced from plants in other parts of the city. Would you support all building project landscape plans requiring the removal of all invasive plant species on the property?

Yes _____ No _____

Optional Comment: Yes, in most cases. My only hesitation is that I don’t want to put an undue burden on people with limited means from making small improvements to their houses; especially if they live adjacent to a steep ravine where working can be dangerous. Certainly large operations should be responsible for taking care of their land.

  1. CITY AUDITOR REVIEW OF COMPLIANCE SMC 25.11.090 currently says “Each exceptional tree and tree over two (2) feet in diameter that is removed in association with development in all zones shall be replaced by one or more new trees, the size and species of which shall be determined by the Director; the tree replacement required shall be designed to result, upon maturity, in a canopy cover that is at least equal to the canopy cover prior to tree removal. Preference shall be given to on-site replacement. When on-site replacement cannot be achieved, or is not appropriate as determined by the Director, preference for off-site replacement shall be on public property.”

This provision, in the Tree Protection Ordinance since 2001, has apparently not been enforced by DCI or its predecessors with any consistency. No funds appear to have been collected by the City to plant off site trees nor does there appear to have been any cumulative record kept of trees removed or total trees replaced either on site or off site to meet the requirements of this provision. Would you support a review by the Seattle City Auditor of the city’s compliance with SMC 25.11.090?

Yes ___x__ No _____

Optional Comment: Yes, we have laws for a reason and if we aren’t enforcing them then we need to figure out what isn’t working so we can fix it. We might also want to look at having developers do the planting themselves if the city is unable to handle it -or if it just makes more economic sense for them to do it so long as it is done right.

  1. URBAN FORESTRY COMMISSION INVOLVEMENT – The Seattle Urban Forestry Commission at the request Of Councilmembers Bagshaw and Herbold submitted to the Seattle City Council and Mayor Jenny Durkan a draft Tree and Urban Forest Protection Ordinance. The draft started with the last draft by the Seattle City Council staff requested by Councilmember Rob Johnson. It addresses all the issues in the recent City Council resolutions. It represents ten years of positions established by the Seattle Urban Forestry Commission regarding efforts to update the existing Tree Protection Ordinance.  Many of the issues in that draft are topics in questions above.

The City Council passed  Ordinance 123052 in August 2009 establishing the Urban Forestry Commission (UFC) “to advise the Mayor and City Council concerning the establishment of policy and regulations governing the protection, management, and conservation of trees and vegetation in the City of Seattle.” One of the responsibilities of the Urban Forestry Commission in that legislation is “To provide recommendations on legislation concerning urban forestry management, sustainability and protection of associated trees and understory vegetation and related habitat on public or private property prior to its introduction and referral to any Council committee”  Will you agree to continue to work with the Seattle Urban Forestry Commission in producing the final update to the Tree Protection Ordinance?

Yes ___x__ No _____

Optional Comment:  Of course

  1. Some people believe here is a conflict between preserving and planting trees in Seattle and building more housing, particularly affordable and low – income housing. What measures or proposals do you think we could put in place to have more affordable and low-income housing as well as achieve our urban forest and tree canopy goals to keep Seattle a healthy and vibrant city for all?

Comment: There are lots of things we can do. First, I believe in putting density near transit corridors instead of uniformly in all neighborhoods like the current council has done. By putting density near transit, this will have less of an effect on our canopy as we can build up instead of out. I also think that green spaces are especially important as we become more densely populated so that we can retain at least some connection to nature. I want to look into options to incentivize high and mid rises to include rooftop or façade gardens so that we can maintain some of our canopy even in our densest areas. I think it is also good for the tenants as it effectively creates park space as well as improved insulation and storm water filtering. While not exclusively for Seattle, I also have a plan on my website to offset the city’s carbon emissions by partnering with non-profits to plant trees in areas that have been ravaged by deforestation like Brazil or even our own local forests.

 Do you have a story or experience regarding trees that you could share with us?

Comment:  My campaign is all about listening to people and working together to serve everyone so I think it is fitting that I relay a story from someone I have meet on this campaign. They built their house 30 years ago on a hill south of Mathews beach. When a developer started building houses around them, the developer diverted an underground steam onto their property which threatened to undermine their foundation. In response, they planted a coastal sequoia above the stream because they are very thirsty trees. That tree has since thrived and grown into a beautiful giant. The people who moved in have tried on multiple occasions to cut it down but to this day it stands tall and proud.