TreePAC and Seattle Win Hearing Examiner Appeal by Master Builders

Friends of Seattle’s Urban Forest

Seattle Hearing Examiner Tosses Out Master Builders Appeal on draft SDCI Tree Protection Ordinance

Dear Friends of Seattle’s Urban Forest,TreePAC has helped the tree advocacy community avert what could have been a 1 – 2 year added delay in updating Seattle’s Tree Protection Ordinance. TreePAC  intervened in the Hearing Examiner  Appeal by the Master Builders who opposed updating  Seattle’s Tree Protection Ordinance. TreePAC sent out the following news release announcing the decision of the Seattle Hearing Examiner to reject the Master Builder’s Appeal.  Please read the news release, then send TreePAC a donation to help them continue their important work.. They deserve our support.

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News Release by TreePACFor Immediate releaseFriday August 12, 2022
SEATTLE – TreePAC, a citizen’s group advocating updating Seattle Tree Protection Ordinance, joined as an Intervenor with the city of Seattle in opposing a Hearing Examiner appeal by the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish County.  The decision allows Seattle to now move forward with updating Seattle’s Tree Protection Ordinance, a process that citizen groups and others have been urging the city to do for 13 years.In a strongly worded decision, the Seattle Hearing Examiner dismissed an appeal by the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties (MBAKS) from a Determination of Non-Significance (DNS) issued by the Seattle Department of Constructions and Inspections (SDCI). The appeal was regarding the potential environmental impacts of a draft update by SDCI of Seattle’s Tree Protection Ordinance.The decision by Seattle Hearing Examiner Ryan Vancil stated, “The Director’s decision to issue a Determination of Non significance for the proposed ordinance is not clearly erroneous and is AFFIRMED and the Appellants’ appeal is DENIED..”The Hearing Examiner did not equivocate but soundly dismissed the MBAKS arguments and witnesses’ statements as speculation and not backed up by any actual data.You can read the Hearing Examiner’s decision and detailed response here.Quotes:Steve Zemke, Chair of TreePAC  “We appreciate the Hearing Examiner’s reasoned and detailed decision. Trees are critical to maintaining the health and vitality of Seattle’s communities and its citizens.  TreePAC supports the efforts of the city to both increase needed housing and protect our green infrastructure. It is not an either/or situation but a priority of the city to address both as mandated in Seattle’s current Comprehensive Plan.Seattle  Hearing Examiner Ryan Vancil in his decision “The record indicates that in developing the proposal, the Department considered the City’s goals and policies and developed a set of recommendations that struck a balance between the City’s housing goals related to housing and future development patterns and the City’s goals to maintain a healthy urban forest that provides sizable tree canopy coverage.”Steve Zemke, Chair TreePAC  “Trees are critical to dealing with urban heat island impacts and stormwater runoff as the climate crisis continues. That requires protecting as many existing trees as possible and planting more trees in marginalized areas for tree equity and social justice. The proposed draft ordinance update helps the city to do that.
Special Appeal to help TreePAC:
 Fighting the Master Builders appeal was a successful effort but unfortunately lasted longer and cost more than expected. TreePAC needs your help to wrap up its legal expenses and continue their work to update Seattle’s Tree Protection Ordinance. Please send a generous contribution today to support their ongoing work. Thanks.

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