Action Item – Council hearing on draft Tree Ordinance bill Wed. Sept 5th.

Action Item – city council hearing Wed,

 

 

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Action – June 1-7, 2018 – Coalition for a Stronger Tree Ordinance

Coalition for a Stronger Tree Ordinance 

Dear Friends of Trees,

Can you show your support for trees next week?  Let us know. We need people to show up and speak for stronger tree protection at these Seattle City Council Hearings:

Monday June 4, 2018 10 AM – Press Conference by Coalition for a Stronger Tree Ordinance at City Hall outside Council Chambers, City Hall, 500 4th Ave. Come! We need you!  Invite others!

Monday June 4, 2018  10:30 AM – give public comments at the MHA Select Committee at Council Chambers in City Hall, 500 4th Ave This is the full City Council discussing the Mandatory Housing Legislation.  Testimony at the beginning of the meeting needs to address that issue. It’s fairly simple.

What to say:

1. With the increased development occurring, we need to add stronger  protection for trees in the MHA ordinance.

2  Require that developers get permits to remove all tree 6″ DBH and larger and that they replace all trees removed either on site or they pay a replacement and maintenance fee to the city to replant the lost trees. Green factor is not an  adequate substitute for trees. We need to grow our canopy, not mow it down.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018 9:30 AM – give public comments to Rob Johnson’s Planning, Land Use and Zoning Committee, Council Chambers, City Hall, 500 4th Ave on his proposed Tree Ordinance Update. Note that the Council memo on the update was not available until the beginning of the last meeting and say you want to comment on it now before he releases a draft on June 20, 2018.

What to say:

1.    Urge that developers be required to get permits for all development projects just as they are  suggesting homeowners do.  Everyone removing trees needs to get permits,  Developers should not be excluded. Its a question of fairness.

2.     The permits should be required for all trees 6 inches in diameter at breast height. This would cover about 45% of the trees on single family lots.

3.     All trees 6″DBH and larger should be replaced, either on site or by paying a tree replacement and maintenance fee to the city to replant them in the neighborhood or elsewhere as needed in the city. We can’t grow our canopy if we are removing it faster than it’s growing. 

4.     Tree care professionals should be licensed.

Background reference material:

website with lots of information and links on trees and tree ordinances, including Seattle’s – www.friends.urbanforests.org   

Here are the recommendations the Coalition for a Stronger Tree Ordinance made: Action Needed Now to Protect Seattle’s Trees and Urban Forest

 Here are the recommendations the Seattle Urban Forestry Commission made: Tree regulations update “Trees for All” proposal recommendation 

 Here is the memo from City Council Central Staff and Rob Johnson that needs strengthening: Draft Updates to Seattle’s Tree Regulations

 Here is the city report that said the current ordinance is not protecting  trees: Tree Regulations Research Project – Final Report  March 31, 2017

 Steve Zemke – Chair – Coalition for a Stronger Tree Ordinance

steve@friends.urbanforests.org

Coalition for a Stronger Tree Ordinance

Please let Carolyn Rodenberg, who is helping coordinate these events,  know if you can attend either of these two days.  If you can’t attend either day, please e-mail  the Mayor and the City Council,  expressing your support for a stronger tree ordinance than what they are currently proposing. Thanks.

E-mail  carolynrodenberg@mindspring.com. 

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Update on May, June Action on Seattle Tree Protection Ordinance (new)

Its Time to Update Seattle’s Tree Ordinance

Friends of Seattle’s Urban Forest and TreePAC invite organizations and individuals to attend our next meeting where we will be gearing up to update Seattle’s Tree Ordinance.

Next meeting of Seattle Tree Ordinance Working Group:

Saturday May 26, 2018 3 PM to 5:30 PM

Northgate Public Library

10548 5th Ave NE, Seattle WA

Meeting of Seattle City Council Planning, Land Use and Zoning Committee:

– to discuss Rob Johnson framework for updating Tree Protection Ordinance

come and speak in favor of updating the tree ordinance

June 6, 2018  9:30 AM

June 20, 2018  9:30 AM

Seattle City Council Chambers

12

I

Seattle City Councilmember Rob Johnson has introduced a framework to update Seattle’s current Tree Ordinance.  This is something many citizens and organizations have been urging for almost 10 years.
We would like your organization to join with us and others to strengthen our coalition effort to coordinate and carry out a focused effort to update our outdated tree ordinance, last passed in 2009 as an “interim ordinance”.
It is important that organizations that have been working on trying to increase tree and urban canopy protection meet and work together to have an impact on shaping and passing this legislation. TreePAC and Friends of Seattle’s Urban Forest have been meeting for several months as part of a Seattle Tree Ordinance Working Group. The Seattle Urban Forestry Commission in April passed an abbreviated list of action items that are similar to those supported by our working group.
Go to Action Needed Now to Protect  Seattle’s Trees and Urban Forest – to see
letter to the Mayor and City Council urging action on updating our current tree ordinance that we are asking organizations to sign onto.
Please come on Saturday May 12th to join the effort.
Agenda:
1. Introductions
2. Background on the current ordinance and why action is needed
3. Discussion/Agreement to form a Coalition/Coordinated Action Plan
4. Discussion/Adoption of Draft Letter to Mayor/City Council
5. Adoption of Plan for moving forward
Steve Zemke Chair TreePAC and Friends of Seattle’s Urban Forest stevezemke@msn.com
Reference material:
Rob Johnson spoke on Wednesday April 11, 2018 before the Urban Forestry Commission. You can listen to the audio recording here, He speaks about 10 minutes into the audio for about a half hour  http://video.seattle.gov:8080/podcasts/urbanforestrycommission/UFC041118meeting.MP3
The summary letter sent to the Seattle City Council and Mayor by the Urban Forestry Commission is here:
Adopted Tree Regulations Update Letter of Recommendation
The UFC will continue the discussion of recommendations on updating the Tree Ordinance at their next  meeting on May 2, 2018 and send a more detailed letter at that point.

More detailed Statement by Friends of Seattle Urban Forest is here:
Recommendations for Updating Seattle’s Tree Ordinance

The following letter has been drafted and organizations and individuals are being asked to join in supporting updating Seattle’s Tree Protection Ordinance by sending this letter with your comments to Mayor Durkan and the Seattle City Council.

Action Needed Now to Protect Seattle’s Trees and Urban Forest

Dear Mayor Durkan and Seattle City Council Members, 

We urge you to provide strong leadership now to significantly strengthen Seattle’s tree ordinance to protect our trees and urban forest. 

Seattle’s urban forest is an integral and vital part of our city.  It provides many benefits and amenities to those living in our city.  Trees help clean our air and enhance public health, reduce stormwater runoff, mitigate climate change, increase property values, decrease the impacts of heat and wind, provide habitat for birds and wildlife and give us a connection with nature in our neighborhoods.

Seattle’s rapid growth is reducing these beneficial impacts as trees are removed, particularly during development across our city. It is urgent that you act now to stop the loss of trees, particularly exceptional trees and tree groves, and to promote environmental equity as we increase our tree canopy.

We urge you to act now by updating our current tree ordinances and regulations as follows:

  1. Adopt a policy of a net increase of Seattle’s tree canopy each year to reach the city’s current goal of 30% tree canopy.  This requires maintaining and strengthening current protections for both significant and exceptional trees, tree groves, Heritage trees, environmentally critical areas and natural areas.
  2. Require the replacement of all trees removed that are 6” DBH and larger with equivalent sized trees (e.g. small, medium or large) – either on site:  or pay the replacement and maintenance mitigation costs into a City Tree Replacement and Maintenance Fund. Allow the Fund to accept fines, donations, grants and for acquiring land and setting easements and Tree Protection Trusts.
  3. Expand the existing tree removal and replacement permit, 2-week notice and posting system used by SDOT – to cover all public and private trees 6” DBH and larger on both public and private property in all land use zones. Allow removal of no more than 1  significant non-exceptional tree per year.
  4.  Establish one citywide database when applying for tree removal and replacement permits and to track changes in the tree canopy.  Post online all permit requests and permit approvals for public viewing.  Expand SDOT’s existing tree map to include all the trees in the city that are removed and replaced.
  5. Require a detailed Urban Forest Canopy Impact Assessment for all development projects prior to any development beginning. This detailed tree inventory should be entered into a public database.  Replacement trees should be based on equivalent tree size at maturity.
  6. Expand SDOT’s existing tree service provider’s registration and certification to include all tree service providers working on trees in Seattle. 
  7. Consolidate tree oversight into one city entity: The Office of Sustainability and Environment, as was recommended by the Seattle City Auditor in 2009.  Give OSE the additional authority needed to ensure that trees have an independent advocate for their protection to avoid conflicting goals in other city departments.
  8. Emphasize native trees and vegetation, particularly conifers, to maximize sustainability and environmental services.  Require the removal of invasive plants during development. Increase incentives for protecting trees and provide public assistance for property owners who need help complying with the city ordinance. To increase compliance increase penalties, fines and enforcement. Ensure environmental equity in maintaining and increasing our tree canopy across the city.

Send this as a pdf to the mayor and City Council  – Protect Seattle’s Trees

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Movement forward on Updating Seattle’s Tree Protection Ordinance – April Action

Seattle City Councilmember Rob Johnson has introduced a framework to update Seattle’s current Tree Ordinance.  This is something many citizens and organizations have been urging for almost 10 years.
We would like your organization to join with us and others to strengthen our coalition effort to coordinate and carry out a focused effort to update our outdated tree ordinance, last passed in 2009 as an “interim ordinance”.
It is important that organizations that have been working on trying to increase tree and urban canopy protection meet and work together to have an impact on shaping and passing this legislation. TreePAC and Friends of Seattle’s Urban Forest have been meeting for several months as part of a Seattle Tree Ordinance Working Group. The Seattle Urban Forestry Commission in April passed an abbreviated list of action items that are similar to those supported by our working group.
Go to Action Needed Now to Protect  Seattle’s Trees and Urban Forest – to see
final letter to the Mayor and City Council urging action on updating our current tree ordinance that we are asking organizations to sign onto.

April meeting Agenda:
1. Introductions
2. Background on the current ordinance and why action is needed
3. Discussion/Agreement to form a Coalition/Coordinated Action Plan
4. Discussion/Adoption of Draft Letter to Mayor/City Council
5. Adoption of Plan for moving forward
Steve Zemke Chair TreePAC and Friends of Seattle’s Urban Forest stevezemke@msn.com
Reference material:
Rob Johnson spoke on Wednesday April 11, 2018 before the Urban Forestry Commission. You can listen to the audio recording here, He speaks about 10 minutes into the audio for about a half hour  http://video.seattle.gov:8080/podcasts/urbanforestrycommission/UFC041118meeting.MP3
The summary letter sent to the Seattle City Council and Mayor by the Urban Forestry Commission is here:
Adopted Tree Regulations Update Letter of Recommendation
The UFC will continue the discussion of recommendations on updating the Tree Ordinance at their next  meeting on May 2, 2018 and send a more detailed letter at that point.

More detailed Statement by Friends of Seattle Urban Forest is here:
Recommendations for Updating Seattle’s Tree Ordinance

The following letter is a draft and organizations and individuals are being asked to join in supporting updating Seattle’s Tree Protection Ordinance by sending this letter with your comments to Mayor Durkan and the Seattle City Council.

April draft below:

Action Needed Now to Protect and Enhance Seattle’s Trees and Urban Forest

We urge you to take action now by updating our current tree ordinance and regulations as follows:

  1. Adopt a policy of no net loss of tree canopy with a goal of increasing tree canopy. This includes maintaining and strengthening current protections for exceptional trees, tree groves, Heritage trees, critical areas and natural areas
  2. Expand the existing tree removal and replacement permit, notice and posting system used by SDOT – to cover all public and private trees 6” DBH and larger on both public and private property in all land use zones. Allow removal of no more than 3 significant non-exceptional trees every 4 years.
  3. Require replacement of all trees removed that are 6” DBH and larger with equivalent sized trees (e.g. small, medium or large) – either on site or pay replacement and maintenance mitigation costs into a City Tree Replacement and Maintenance Fund. Allow the Fund to accept fines, donations and grants and allow funds to also be used for acquiring land, easements or set up Trusts to protect trees.
  4. Establish one city wide database system to apply for tree removal and replacement permits. Post permit requests and permits approved on line for the public to see. City should expand SDOT’s existing tree map to include all of the trees in the city that are removed and replaced.
  5. Require a detailed Urban Forest Canopy Impact Assessment for all development projects – basically a detailed tree inventory report on property before development proceeds. Information would be entered into a public database, including data on replacement using  equivalent tree sizes at maturity.
  6. Expand SDOT’s existing tree service provider’s registration and certification to include all tree service providers working on trees in Seattle
  7. Consolidate tree oversight into one city entity as recommended in 2009 by the Seattle City Auditor who recommended the Office of Sustainability and Environment. Give OSE the additional authority needed to ensure that trees have an advocate for their protection and independence from conflicting goals inherent in other city departments,
  8. Give emphasis to native trees and vegetation, particularly conifers to maximize sustainability and environmental services like reducing stormwater runoff, protecting wildlife habitat and minimizing climate change impacts. Require removal of invasives during development. Increase incentives for protecting trees and provide public assistance for citizens if needed to help comply with the city ordinance. Increase penalties, fines and enforcement for increased compliance.

Send this as a pdf to the mayor and City Council  – Protect Seattle’s Trees

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Fight over Issaquah hillside

Fight over Issaquah hillside: How much development is too much?

www.seattletimes.com  Dec 18, 2016
The owners of a 45-acre parcel of land next to Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park say a proposed development would leave most of the property as open space, but neighbors want the land to be part of the park.
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“Exceptional trees are incompatible with Urban Villages and backyard cottages” says Seattle OPCD employee Brennon Staley

The Death of Single family zoning starts in HALA, Urban Villages + ADU’s near you!  And Exceptional Trees Will Not Survive. – story by Richard Ellison

“Exceptional trees are incompatible with Urban Villages and backyard cottages” says Seattle OPCD employee Brennon Staley (at the Oct 27, 2017 EIS Scoping meeting at the Hales Brewery). When I asked Brennon how, in the best possible circumstances, under ANY possible conditions could Exceptional trees be saved during development. He smiled and said that was not really possible.

So, with the City about to (1) eliminate Single Family Zoning in all Urban Village areas, and (2) allow extra ADU’s (mother-in-law units/ backyard cottages) in the remaining Single Family Zones, Seattle is going to accelerate the loss of Exceptional Trees and limit the available soil areas where new trees might ever grow to a large size and maturity.

Read the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to study the potential effects of removing barriers to creating accessory dwelling units (ADUs) in single-family zones. Visit the ADU EIS website to learn more and provide comments.

Staley, Brennon               206-684-4625         brennon.staley@seattle.gov

It was a large and vocal event for the City, taking comments on the 2 new proposals: An EIS for zoning changes, and public comments on new ADU’s.

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TreePAC Endorsements for the Nov. 7, 2017 General Election Ballot

TreePAC endorses candidates
for 2017 General Election

POSITION         Link to Candidate Websites

Seattle Mayor – Jenny Durkan and Cary Moon

Seattle City Attorney – Pete Holmes

Seattle City Council Position #8 – Jon Grant

Seattle City Council Position #8 – Teresa Mosqueda

Seattle City Council Position #9- Pat Marakami

Seattle Port Commission Position #1 – John Creighton

Seattle Port Commission Position Position #3 – Stephanie Bowman

Seattle Port Commission Position #4 – Peter Steinbrueck

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE TREEPAC CANIDIDATE FORUM VIDEOS

CLICK HERE TO SEE 2017 GENERAL ELECTION SEATTLE CANDIDATE QUESTIONNAIRES RECEIVED

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Seattle Mayor Tim Burgess Signs Executive Order to Increase Tree Protection

From This Week in the Mayor’s Office – Oct 13, 2017

 Protecting Seattle’s Tree Canopy

Mayor Burgess signed an Executive Order focused on strengthening Seattle’s protections for trees on private property today. The order directs the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections to better implement existing tree regulations through:

• Strengthening the existing regulations through new and updated Director’s Rules;

• Increasing penalties for illegal tree cutting; and

• Developing a fee-in-lieu program to mitigate tree loss

Further, the order asks City staff to explore how Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) policies could support Seattle’s urban forestry goals.

“Seattle’s tree canopy is a treasure that provides critical health and economic benefits to our city,” said Mayor Burgess. “It must be protected, nurtured, and expanded. As we grow as a city, we must also grow our commitment to be good stewards of our urban forest.”

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TreePAC recommendation – Thank Mayor Burgess for his action and urge the Seattle City Council to strengthen this effort by updating the interim Tree Ordinance passed in 2009  which is still awaiting action by the City Council. They need to hear from concerned citizens.  

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Seattle Times: Ruling calls bluff on Seattle’s misguided housing policy on backyard cottages

Ruling calls bluff on Seattle’s misguided housing policy on backyard cottages

TreePAC has worked to inform the city that second houses on single family lots, called back yard cottages, would have a major impact on Seattle’s urban forest ( though more in scale with neighborhoods than apartment buildings also being suggested).
Why? Because two houses on a lot break up the contiguous green space that hosts trees into narrow slivers of land. The same lot coverage by one big house provides the room needed for big trees.

Multiplied by thousands of homes over 50 years, the cottages will likely have major environmental repercussions.

See what the Seattle Times Editorial Staff had to say about the legislation proposed to encourage more cottages in the article at http://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/editorials/ruling-calls-bluff-on-seattles-misguided-housing-policy/ or by reading an excerpt below.

______________________________________

Published December 15, 2016 at SeattleTimes.com. Written by Seattle Times editorial board.

SEATTLE reached a turning point Tuesday when a hearing examiner excoriated City Hall’s plan to allow density to increase by as much as threefold in city neighborhoods.

For the first time in recent memory, the bluff was officially called on the city’s poor planning and misleading rhetoric as it enthusiastically boosts development.

Hearing Examiner Sue Tanner’s ruling suggests that residents were being bamboozled by the equivalent of post-factual, fake news.

Instead of creating more affordable housing as Mayor Ed Murray and the City Council proclaimed, the policy on backyard cottages would make housing less affordable.

Continue reading at at http://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/editorials/ruling-calls-bluff-on-seattles-misguided-housing-policy/

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Tree Preservation Ordinance makes the headlines! Score one for the TreePAC green agenda…

As green as Seattle likes to portray itself to be, the city hasn’t put much emphasis on protecting its tree canopy. From a long time after non-native settlers arrived, the idea was to cut down the trees. As the city re-greened itself through the 20th century, some of the canopy came back, but the city government didn’t start paying much attention to tree policy until early this century.

Today, other cities are doing better by their trees. Atlanta, Austin, Portland, Vancouver, B.C. —why, even development-crazy Vancouver, Washington — have much stronger protections than Seattle. In all of those cities, a homeowner must obtain a permit to remove a tree above a certain size, and must replace the tree. Portland even has an “inch per inch” rule, requiring that the size of the tree replacement correspond with the size of the one lost, further protecting large trees. Not so in Seattle.

Read full article »

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