Comments on Draft Tree Ordinance (Draft D7) – David Moehring

RE: Draft Tree Removal Ordinance
Comments by David Moehring 8/31/2018
PLEASE KEEP IN THE CURRENT TREE REQUIREMENT of SMC 23.44.008 in ITS ENTIRETY IN ORDER TO AVOID NEGATIVE IMPACTS TO THE SEATTLE ENVIRONMENT:
Please enter into the public record for the September 5th Hearing.
 Copy to:

The Honorable Rob Johnson, Chair of Planning, Land Use & Zoning Seattle City Council

The Honorable Mike O’Brien

The Honorable Lisa Herbold

The Honorable Lorena Gonzalez

The Honorable Sally Bagshaw,

The Honorable Lorena Gonzalez

The Honorable Debora Juarez

The Honorable Teresa Mosqueda

The Honorable Lorena Gonzalez

The Honorable Kshama Sawant

 Dear Mr. An and Mr. McConaghy,
Please explain how and why the “Draft Tree Protection Ordinance” and program mislabeled “Trees for All” results in the proposed removal of  tree protection – making it easier for new home builders to remove trees without replacing them.
There are too many examples of reduced tree protections being proposed within the new ordinance. Please provide a citywide open forum. It is unjust to allow just ten (10) minutes of researched feedback on this significant issue! Most important, how may a City Council propose reductions in tree protection while disregarding the State requirements for an environmental impact study?
A Case in Point:
The proposed ‘tree protection ordinance’ weakens tree protection the most where the most of Seattle’s “urban forest” exists – single-family zoned lots which hold almost two-thirds of Seattle’s trees. Although the City proposed changes places additional burdens on existing home owners, it removes all barriers to tree removal from new home builders. Yet, Seattle does not suffer so much the residents yielding chain saws. The damage is done by the home builders clear-cutting established groves and significant trees. The new ordinance allows this to happen with the complete removal of section 23.44.008 paragraph ‘I’ from the Seattle Municipal Code.
For years, Seattle codes required that NEW houses on single-family zoned lots maintain their heart of the urban forest. If, however, this environmentally smart code section is not maintained as it is today, retaining existing trees and/or planting new trees in a size that is proportionate to the lot area will no longer be required. …. the significant risk of striking this current tree retention and refurbishment requirement,…. Specifically, if one builds a new house on a typical 5,000 square foot lot, then they also must retain and/or plant enough trees so that the total of all trees measured are at least 10-inches in width (measured at a set location). If that 5,000 square foot lot already has and will retain existing trees that at least total 10-inches in width – then no additional new trees are required to be planted. That seems in part a fair incentive to retain existing mature trees that do so much more for the micro-climate of Seattle than some convoluted “green factor”!
Why might some councilpersons likely be promoting the removal of this enduring tree retention / replanting code section? We all need to know. I suspect that without the existing trees being in the way on residential development lots (where most of Seattle’s Urban Forest exists), it makes the forthcoming changes to Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) easier to be achieved.
For reference, I have copied and pasted the relative text that is shown by Mr. McConaghy to be completely struck from the Seattle Municipal Code — which will definitely have a potential for significant environmental impacts.  This text is at the bottom of the message – below the illustrative diagram.
Yes, Trees for all …including new development sites!
 David Moehring AIA
3444 23rd Ave W
Member, TreePAC

 

Subject: Planning, Land Use, and Zoning Committee Agenda – Public Hearing – 9/5/18

 PLEASE KEEP IN THE CURRENT TREE REQUIREMENT of SMC 23.44.008 in ITS ENTIRETY IN ORDER TO AVOID NEGATIVE IMPACTS TO THE SEATTLE ENVIRONMENT:

Template strikes the below section as last revised by the City

by Eric McConaghy (LEG Tree regulation updates ORD D7)

The text below would be removed from the Seattle Municipal Code in the D& version of the Tree Regulations bill:

I. Tree Requirements.

1. Trees are required when single-family dwelling units are constructed. The minimum number of caliper inches of tree required per lot may be met by using either the tree preservation option or tree planting option described in subsections 23.44.008.I.1.a. or I.1.b., or by a combination of preservation and planting. This requirement may be met by planting or preserving street trees in the public right-of-way. Submerged land shall not be included in  calculating lot area for purposes of either the tree preservation option or tree planting option.

a. Tree Preservation Option. For lots over 3,000 square feet, at least 2 caliper inches of existing tree per 1,000 square feet of lot area must be preserved. On lots that are 3,000 square feet or smaller, at least 3 caliper inches of existing tree must be preserved per lot. When this option is used, a tree preservation plan is required.

b. Tree Planting Option. For lots over 3,000 square feet, at least 2 caliper inches of tree per 1,000 square feet of lot area must be planted. On lots that are 3,000 square feet or smaller, at least 3 caliper inches of tree must be planted per lot.

2. Tree Measurements. Trees planted to meet the requirements in subsection 23.44.008.I.1 shall be at least 1.5 inches in diameter. The diameter of new trees shall be measured (in caliper inches) 6 inches above the ground. Existing trees shall be measured 4.5 feet above the ground. When an existing tree is 3 to 10 inches in diameter, each 1 inch counts as 1 inch toward meeting the tree requirements in subsection 23.44.008.I.1. When an existing tree is more than 10 inches in diameter, each 1 inch of the tree that is over 10 inches shall count as 3 inches toward meeting the tree requirement.

3. Tree Preservation Plans. If the tree preservation option is chosen, a tree preservation plan must be submitted and approved. Tree preservation plans shall provide for protection of trees during construction according to standards promulgated by the [SDCI] Director.))


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