Resolution urging passage of Seattle UFC draft Tree and Urban Forest Protection Ordinance

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 scrape 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:

  1. 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;
  2. Require 2 week posting of tree removal and replacement applications on site as SDOT does;
  3. 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; 
  4. Retain current protections for exceptional trees and reduce upper threshold for exceptional trees to 24” DBH; 
  5. Allow no more than 2 significant non-exceptional trees to be removed over 3 years on developed property; 
  6. Require registration of all tree services providers with the city;
  7. Track all significant tree loss and replacement; and
  8. 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 Seattle City Council to pass the Seattle Urban Forestry Commission’s June 15, 2019 draft Tree and Urban Forest Protection Ordinance.

Signed  ________________________Title   ____________________ date _________

Name and address of organization_________________________________________________________

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