Resolution in Support of Seattle Urban Forestry Commission’s
Draft Tree and Urban Forest Protection Ordinance
Whereas Seattle is not only losing its big trees but many others as developers frequently are scraping lots clean of trees to maximize their building sites, and
Whereas Seattle is not requiring developers to replace all exceptional trees and trees over 24” DBH (diameter at 54” high) removed, as prescribed by SMC 25.11.090, and
Whereas, unlike Portland and other major cities, Seattle has not instituted a Tree Removal and Replacement permit system on either developed property or property being developed but only relies on a complaint-based system on developed property that is not protecting trees, and
Whereas the Seattle City Council (“the Council”) voted in 2009 and again in Resolution 31870 in April 2019 to support updating its Tree Protection Ordinance,and
Whereas in 2017 in its Tree Regulations Research Report, the city found that “Current code is not supporting tree protection” and “we are losing exceptional trees (and groves) in general.”, and
Whereas Seattle’s trees and urban forest are vital green infrastructure in Seattle that reduces air pollution and stormwater runoff, reduces climate change impacts like heat island effects, provides essential habitat for birds and other wildlife, and is important for both physical and mental health for people living in Seattle, and
Whereas the Seattle Urban Forestry Commission has drafted, at the suggestion of several Council members, an updated Tree Protection Ordinance that is consistent with the eight recommendations the Council adopted in Section 6 of Resolution 31870 in April 2019, and
Whereas the draft ordinance would:
- Increase protections for Seattle trees and tree canopy volume by requiring tree removal and replacement permits for all significant trees (over 6” DBH) removed on both developed property and property being developed on all land use zones in the city;
- Require 2 week posting of tree removal and replacement applications on site as SDOT does;
- Require tree replacement on site, which in 25 years, is equivalent to the tree canopy volume removed or require a fee paid into a Tree Replacement and Preservation Fund to plant and maintain for 5 years the trees elsewhere in the city;
- Retain current protections for exceptional trees and reduce upper threshold for exceptional trees to 24” DBH;
- Allow no more than 2 significant non-exceptional trees to be removed over 3 years on developed property;
- Require registration of all tree services providers with the city;
- Track all significant tree loss and replacement; and
- Provide adequate funds to administer and enforce the ordinance.
Therefore, be it resolved that we support the efforts of the Coalition for a Stronger Tree Ordinance to update and strengthen Seattle’s current ordinance. We urge the Mayor and Seattle City Council to pass the Seattle Urban Forestry Commission’s June 15, 2019 draft Tree and Urban Forest Protection Ordinance and to enforce it.
Please let the Mayor and City Council know that your organization has adopted this resolution. Send your message easily and quickly by going to www.DontClearcutSeattle.org/organizationalsupport .
We will also add your organization’s name to our list of organizations supporting adopting the Seattle Urban Forestry Commission’s draft Tree and Urban Forest Protection Ordinance.