Seattle City Council Passes Resolution to Update Seattle’s Tree Protection Ordinance

On March 18, 2019 the Seattle City Council passed CB 119444 – Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) legislation.

As part of that legislation they passed a Companion  RESOLUTION 31870 calling for additional measures by the City and its partners that complement mandatory housing affordability (MHA) implementation to promote livability and equitable development, mitigate displacement, and address challenges and opportunities raised by community members during the MHA public engagement process.

Section 6 of that resolution dealt with updating Seattle’s Tree Protection Ordinance.

Section 5. The Council recognizes the environmental, social, and economic benefits of Seattle’s urban forest and commits to working with community members and City departments to update the City’s tree regulations, advancing the goals of the Urban Forest Stewardship Plan across Seattle.
Potential measures may include, but are not limited to, the following:
A. Retaining protections for exceptional trees and expanding the definition of  exceptional trees.
B. Creating a permitting process for the removal of significant trees, defined as trees  6 inches in diameter at breast height or larger.
C. Adding replacement requirements for significant tree removal.
D. Simplifying tree planting and replacement requirements.
E. Maintaining tree removal limits in single-family zones.
F. Exploring the feasibility of establishing a in-lieu fee option for tree planting.
G. Tracking tree removal and replacement throughout Seattle.
H. Providing adequate funding to administer and enforce tree regulations.
I. Requiring that all tree service providers operating in Seattle meet the minimum certification and training requirements and register with the city.

This is an affirmation by the Seattle City Council of their intent to update Seattle’s Tree Protection Ordinance SMC 25.11. The Seattle City Council in 2009 passed a similar resolution but never updated the ordinance. It’s now 10 years later.

Unfortunately the Councilmember leading the effort, Rob Johnson, resigned on April 5, 2019. Councilmember Sally Bagshaw has stepped up and said she will now take  the lead in updating the ordinance.

The goal is to complete the drafting process of a new ordinance and have it adopted  by the end of September at the latest. In October and November the Seattle City Council shifts to drafting and adopting the City Budget.

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TreePAC ADU Intervention – quick update


May 2019 -TreePAC was allowed to intervene, but the scope and ability to participate was very limited. In retrospect it makes more sense to appeal to the hearing examiner directly and not just intervene, which limits your ability to participate on the issues.

April 2019 – Since early discussions in November, TreePAC discussed and then issued an intervention to the appeal on the proposed changes to single-family properties relative to the environmental impacts from tree loss.

The links are below.

TreePAC hopes to hear back from the Deputy Hearing Examiner is our motion has been accepted by the end of the week. The appeal hearings will take place next week Monday – Friday (Mar 25-29) in the Office of the Hearing Examiner at the 40th floor of the Municipal Building Tower.

· Appellant Final Witness & Exhibit List 2/12/2019

· City Final Witness and Exhibit List 2/19/2019

· TreePAC Motion to Intervene 3/14/2019

· Clarification 3/14/2019

· City Response to Motion to Intervene 3/14/2019

· TreePAC_Reply_to_City_opposition.pdf 3/18/2019

full records of Queen Anne citywide appeal may be found at:

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Urgent – Contact Seattle City Council to Add Tree Mitigation Amendment to MHA Ordinance

Tree PAC
Action Message from Steve Zemke – Chair – Coalition for a Stronger Tree OrdinanceDear Tree PAC Supporters,
The Seattle City Council will be considering amendments to the proposed Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) Ordinance this Friday May 8, 2019. We need your help to urge the Seattle City Council to support and adopt an amendment proposed by the Seattle Urban Forestry Commission to help mitigate for trees lost during development. They will be holding a public hearing Feb thursday Feb 21 and take a fianl vote on Feb 25, 2019.  Click here to see schedule.This amendment would  increase tree mitigation for trees lost during MHA implementation as proposed in Executive Order 2017-11 – Tree Protection by Mayor Burgess in 2017 and addressed as mitigation to be implemented in the final MHA Environmental Impact Statement. Unfortunately, both  the language to require a replacement fee for trees removed  during development and not replanted on site, and language to track tree loss and replacement as proposed by Mayor Burgess, have not been incorporated in the current MHA ordinance draft.Please e-mail the following message to the Seattle City Council and the Mayor to support and pass this amendment. You can cut and paste the following text in an e-mail, add your name and your own message. Mail to and Thanks.

Dear Seattle City Council,

Please add the following amendment proposed by the Seattle Urban Forestry Commission to the proposed Mandatory Housing Affordability Ordinance   The language proposed is within the scope of the final Environmental Impact Statement as discussed in section 3.6.3 MITIGATION MEASURES. To sustain our urban forest it is essential that trees removed during development be replaced. The proposed amendment addresses that issue.

SMC 25.11.090 – Tree replacement and site restoration (A)
“Each exceptional significant tree (six inches DBH and larger) and over two (2) feet 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 20 years, in a canopy cover volume that is at least equal to the canopy cover volume 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 a fee-in-lieu shall be paid to the City to replace and maintain the tree or trees in the neighborhood where they were removed or elsewhere as needed in the city. The City shall enter all significant trees on site, trees removed, and trees replaced into SDCI’s current database system; noting tree species, common name, DBH, height, condition and location.

Please add this amendment to the final Mandatory Housing Affordability Ordinance. Tree replacement is important to not lose tree canopy.  Can we count on you to support and vote for this amendment?  Thank you.


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Continuing the Fight to Update Seattle’s Tree Ordinance – Coalition Meeting this Saturday

Coalition for a Stronger Tree Ordinance
Dear TreePAC Supporters 

We ended last year in a stalemate as the Seattle City Council put off action once again on moving ahead with updating Seattle’s Tree Protection Ordinance. They say they will start again after they pass the MHA (Mandatory Housing Affordability) Ordinance in March. We are now into year 10 since the City Council first passed a resolution in 2009 to update the current tree protection ordinance and again are put on the back burner.

Continue reading

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Seattle City Council Again Delays Tree Protection Ordinance

Update – Coalition for a Stronger Tree Ordinance

Seattle City Council Again Delays Tree Protection Ordinance

Regretfully we end 2018 without an update to Seattle’s Tree Protection Ordinance. The Seattle City Council’s Planning, Land Use and Zoning Committee (PLUZ) had announced in Nov 2017 that they were going to once again attempt to update Seattle’s Tree protection Ordinance.  In December of 2017 TreePAC and Friends of Seattle’s Urban Forest again joined with other community groups to coordinate a renewed effort to update Seattle’s Tree ordinance.
Continue reading

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New Cheasty Bike trails are unsafe and unwelcoming

Letter from Seattle Nature Alliance, Oct 2018

Dear Seattle Parks and Recreation, 

We are writing to express our strong opposition to the latest version of the Cheasty Greenspace Pilot Project (released October 2018). The latest version puts bikes and pedestrians on the same paths and is unsafe, unwelcoming, and it is not what the Parks Department promised. We are asking you to either stop the Cheasty Pilot altogether, or to redesign the trails to be safe, welcoming, and pedestrian-only.
(See the maps in the pdf attached below. We redrew these maps so people can easily see the trails. They are accurately traced from Parks-provided maps, which are confusing to look at.) Continue reading

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Seattle Tree Ordinance Update Meeting – Next Steps

Dear Tree PAC supporters,

Join other tree protection advocates this Saturday October 27th for a public coalition meeting to discuss and review proposed changes needed to strengthen the current Tree Ordinance draft proposed by the Seattle City Council.  Continue reading

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What’s next for Seattle’s Tree Ordinance Update?

The Seattle City Council heeded public input and has decided to slow down their rush to update SMC 25.11 – Seattle’s Tree Protection Ordinance by the end of September. This will give more time for public input and scrutiny. The public needs to continue to send in their concerns and suggestions on how to make the ordinance more effective. The Seattle City Council and the Mayor are currently focused this month and next month on adopting their 2019 Budget. They will again take up the Tree Protection Ordinance after the Budget is adopted.

You can help us get a stronger ordinance by continuing to contact the Mayor and the Seattle City Council with your concerns and suggestions. Their e-mails are: and

Below are our  suggestions  of changes needed in the current draft they are working with labeled as version D7 that we believe would significantly strengthen the draft ordinance.

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Action Item – Council Hearing on Draft Tree Ordinance Wed. Sept 5, 2018

Public Hearing on Draft Tree Ordinance

The Seattle Land Use and Zoning Committee of the Seattle City Council is holding a Public Hearing on its proposed draft Tree Ordinance:

Wednesday, Sept 5, 2018
9:30 AM to 11:30 AM (sign up starts at 9 AM)

Seattle City Hall, City Council Chambers,
600 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104

Please come and testify or send a letter to the Mayor and City Council. and

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Campaign Continues to Update Seattle’s Tree Ordinance

Campaign Continues to Update Seattle’s Tree Ordinance

TreePAC is a member of the Coalition to Strengthen Seattle’s Tree Ordinance



Seattle City Councilmember Rob Johnson’s relentless push to repeal Seattle’s current Tree Protection Ordinance SMC 25.11 has advanced with the release of final language for the proposed new Ordinance (Version D7 –

Unfortunately the Seattle City Council’s latest version of an update to the current Tree Protection Ordinance  has changed to what we consider a “Tree Removal and Mitigation Ordinance.” There is a big difference between proactive tree retention/protection vs mitigation, which occurs after a tree is cut. Continue reading

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