Seattle City Council Passes Legislation to Remove SEPA Appeals

The Seattle City Council just passed legislation to limit SEPA appeals by Seattle citizens on upzones for housing.

It took them only 3 months to pass this legislation giving more authority to the Departmental of Construction and Inspections to fast track developer projects. Meanwhile  they have not updated the Tree Protection Ordinance in 10 years. The Council first passed a Resolution to update the Tree Protection Ordinance in 2009 and passed two similar resolutions this year, including one in Sept saying they needed more time to study the issue. Right.

In 2017 they studied the issue in a report entitled “Tree Regulations Research Project” that they kept hidden from the public and only released after a public records request. Their findings included:

“Current code is not supporting tree protection.”

“We are losing exceptional trees (and groves) in general”

“We are losing exceptional trees (and groves) in general” “Conifers and large tree species are coming out with deciduous and dwarf species are coming in.”

“Landscaping Standards final inspection is not consistently applied.”

“Design Review and code-required tree protection are being avoided.”

And then publicly they continue to say, as they did in the introduction to this ordinance, “The Mayor and City Council find that the City’s codes have evolved in recent decades such that there is generally less need to employ SEPA, because other City codes and requirements effectively mitigate environmental impacts.”

The Seattle Urban Forestry Commission in June provided the Council and the Mayor with a draft “Tree and Urban Forest Protection Ordinance”  which the city has put on the back burner while they consider the issues. They have put the issue off until 2020 saying they need more public input.

Citizens can support this draft by going to and urging the city pass this legislation.