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.
By August of 2018 the PLUZ Committee had produced 2 public drafts of a new ordinance and an least 8 internal drafts.
In September, the Seattle City Council agreed with the Seattle Urban Forestry Commission and with TreePAC and other community groups and individuals that the city needed to slow down and draft a new Tree Ordinance that actually protected existing trees as well as requiring trees that were removed be replaced.
In October and November of 2018 the Seattle City Council dedicated its time and effort to drafting and passing the City Budget. Unfortunately after this was completed, the Planning, Land Use and Zoning Committee decided to shift their attention and staff to other legislation and delay further action until after they pass their Mandatory Housing Affordability Ordinance. They have now tentatively said they would again work on the tree ordinance in the second quarter of 2019.
The Seattle City Council is now entering its tenth year since they passed Council Resolution 31138 urging an update of SMC 25.11 – Tree Protection Ordinance. The Coalition for a Stronger tree Ordinance will continue to meet as an organization to build support across Seattle for a stronger tree ordinance as well as work with the City Council, Mayor and the Seattle Urban Forest Commission on specific language.
The Coalition continues to urge supporters to continue to contact the Mayor’s office and the City Council on a regular basis to urge they finally enact a strong tree protection ordinance and enforce it.
The main points to emphasize to them is that an updated ordinance must:
Maintain protections for Exceptional Trees – “An exceptional tree is a tree that: 1. Is designated as a heritage tree by the City of Seattle; or 2. Is rare or exceptional by virtue of its size, species, condition, cultural/historic importance, age, and/or contribution as part of grove of trees “.
Lower the threshold for large exceptional trees to 24 inches diameter at 54 inches high (DBH).
Require removal permits for all trees 6″DBH and larger in all property zones across the city for both developed lots and lots undergoing development.
Base tree permits on diameter and species of trees, not tree canopy measurements.
Require all trees 6″ DBH and larger that are removed to be replaced on site or a replacement and maintenancefee be paid to the city.
Require 2 week posting and yellow ribbons on trees on site for all permit applications for removal. Include on line public posting of applications and permit approvals.
Limit removal of significant trees non-exceptional trees to no more than 2 per year on developed property.
Maintain the prohibition on cutting down trees greater than 6″ DBH on undeveloped lots.
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 →
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 →
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:
firstname.lastname@example.org and Council@seattle.gov
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.
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 →
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.
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”. Continue reading →
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.