TreePAC Green Agenda 2016-2017
by Cass Turnbull
Top Three Goals for 2016
TREE PROTECTION ORDINANCE
Pass a strong Tree Protection Ordinance
IMPROVE COMPREHENSIVE PLAN GOALS
Retain and increase Parks/Comp Plan acquisition goals. Reject proposed new goals (which replace land acquisition requirements with goals for ‘more uses’ and better ‘maintenance’ of existing parks—which are already going to happen).
RETAIN CITY SURPLUS LAND FOR PUBLIC USE
Do not sell for private development. Determine relative amounts of land to be kept for open space v. public housing.
Support the acquisition of green spaces and tree canopy cover with new, permanent and sufficient public funding (which is not currently funded by in Seattle Municipal Parks District).
Green Space acquisition funding tied to development.
Include the dollar values of the eco-benefits provided by greenspace in the City budget process.
NO NET LOSS OF OPEN SPACE
The City will compensate for the loss of private green spaces (as buildings get larger), by adding and new public parkland and utility functioning greenspace.
NO NET LOSS OF TREES
City wide, accounting for both public and private trees.
TRACKING AND INVENTORY
Track and inventory tree losses and gains, through each City department, through tree services, through the permitting system and through satellite imaging. Results to be made public through a semi-annual State of the Trees Report.
FUND VOLUNTEER WORK
Fund the green non-profits who maintain or increase Seattle’s urban forest and green spaces.
HISTORIC PRESERVATION FOR HERITAGE GARDENS
Create, fund and add gardens to Landmark Preservation program.
Fund the Department of Neighborhoods program to administer and acquire sufficient land such that the waiting list is no more that 85 people long as an average.
MORE SPACE FOR TREES TO GROW
Increase building set-backs, reduce building coverage of lots, increase land required for landscaping, and require more tree retention on private property undergoing redevelopment.
PROTECT NATURAL AREAS
Keep exclusionary and intrusive recreational activities (such as mountain biking), and concessions, (such as zip line business), out of Natural Areas
The City police, City legal department and departmental code enforcers are to track and be held accountable for enforcement of tree protection laws. Begin by tracking response to calls and emails sent to the City.
Fully fund paid workers to keep invasive plants from destroying trees and habitat in green belts and natural areas.
GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE MUST INCLUDE LAND AND TREES
The new GI such as green roofs, rain gardens, and bioswales are to be use as an addition to, not as a replacement for open space and urban canopy.
END BUILDING EXEMPTIONS IN SENSITIVE AREAS
Preserve Sensitive Areas. End building exemptions for ‘reasonable’ development in sensitive or environmentally critical areas, or require in-City replacement of land as mitigation.
INCREASE STREET TREE SURVIVAL
Incorporate new planting technologies (such as silva-cells, gap graded soils, and rebar in concrete) in all new road, parking lot and sidewalk repairs. This is to prevent buckling and increase tree survival.
GREEN FACTOR CHANGE
Retain more mature trees by improving the Green Factor weighting system
TRAINING IN TREE RETENTION
On-going mandatory training of tree retention practices during construction for all relevant trades and departments
ALL CITY FORESTER
Create the position of All-city Forester with authority and responsibility for all City trees, over all City departments.
Use fees and fines from non-compliance (illegal tree cutting) to fund land acquisition and public education about the Urban Forestry.
OFFER FISCAL INCENTIVES
Incentives given for tree and greenspace retention on public and private land. For example Treebates on utility bills.
SUPPORT CANDIDATES AND OTHER INITIATIVES THAT IMPROVE URBAN FORESTS AND GREENSPACES
Examples are the creation of a Seattle Land Trust and incorporation of Natural Asset Accounting in the Seattle’s accounting and budgeting systems, both initiated by Seattle Green Spaces Coalition.