Seattle’s draft 2045 Comprehensive Plan

The following comments to Seattle’s draft 2045 Comprehensive Plan are in regards to legislation passed last year by the Washington State Legislature on Comprehensive Plan requirements.

  1. In the Climate and Environment Section, p 149, of the draft One Seattle Comprehensive Plan,  the heading Tree Canopy, should be changed to Urban Forest and Tree Canopy. 
  2. Discussion – Seattle’s urban forest and  tree canopy is fundamental… add “climate resiliency”

Rationale for adding urban forest is legislative amendments noted in text below. Highlighting is mine (SZ) for pointing out specific sections. Underlined areas are new to the State Growth Management Act.

The Washington State Legislature in 2023 passed E2SHB 1181 – AN ACT Relating to improving the state’s climate response through updates to the state’s planning framework.

Section 1.(14) Climate change and resiliency. Ensure that comprehensive  plans, development regulations, and regional policies, plans, and  strategies under RCW 36.70A.210 and chapter 47.80 RCW adapt to and mitigate the effects of a changing climate; support reductions in  greenhouse gas emissions and per capita vehicle miles traveled; prepare for climate impact scenarios; foster resiliency to climate  impacts and natural hazards; protect and enhance environmental,  economic, and human health and safety; and advance environmental  justice. …

Section 3.(3) The comprehensive plan of a county or city that is required or chooses to plan under RCW 36.70A.040 shall consist of a map or maps,  and descriptive text covering objectives, principles, and standards used to develop the comprehensive plan. The plan shall be an internally consistent document and all elements shall be consistent with the future land use map. A comprehensive plan shall be adopted and amended with public participation as provided in RCW 36.70A.140. Each comprehensive plan shall include a plan, scheme, or design for each of the following: (1) A land use element designating the proposed general  distribution and general location and extent of the uses of land, where appropriate, for agriculture, timber production, housing,  commerce, industry, recreation, open spaces and green spaces, urban and community forests within the urban growth area, general aviation  airports, public utilities, public facilities, and other land uses.  The land use element shall include population densities, building intensities, and estimates of future population growth. The land use element shall provide for protection of the quality and quantity of groundwater used for public water supplies. The land use element must give special consideration to achieving environmental justice in its goals and policies, including efforts to avoid creating or worsening environmental health disparities. Wherever possible, the land use element should consider utilizing urban planning approaches that promote physical activity and reduce per capita vehicle miles traveled within the jurisdiction, but without increasing greenhouse gas emissions elsewhere in the state. Where applicable, the land use element shall review drainage, flooding, and stormwater runoff in the area and nearby jurisdictions and provide guidance for corrective actions to mitigate or cleanse those discharges that pollute waters of the state, including Puget Sound or waters entering Puget Sound. The land use element must reduce and mitigate the risk to lives and property posed by wildfires by using land use planning tools, which may include, but are not limited to, adoption of portions or all of the wildland urban interface code developed by the international code  council or developing building and maintenance standards consistent with the firewise USA program or similar program designed to reduce  wildfire risk, reducing wildfire risks to residential development in high risk areas and the wildland urban interface area, separating human development from wildfire prone landscapes, and protecting  existing residential development and infrastructure through community wildfire preparedness and fire adaptation measures.

2nd change – In the Land Use Element General Development Standards: 

 Policies LU 4.8 Use following phrasing.  

 Use urban forest and tree requirements to preserve and enhance the City’s physical, aesthetic and cultural character and to enhance the value of the trees and urban forest in addressing stormwater management, pollution reduction, climate resiliency and heat island mitigation.

Steve Zemke

Friends of Seattle’s Urban Forest

Master Builders Lobbying reported on Seattle Tree Protection Ordinance

The Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties (MBAKS) registered in 2022 and 2023 with the city of Seattle regarding  Lobbying on updating Seattle’s Tree Protection Ordinance – from Public Records on Seattle  Note – bolding of parts of … Continue reading

Links to three recent NPI polls on support for trees in Seattle

https://www.nwprogressive.org/weblog/2021/09/seattle-voters-overwhelmingly-favor-policies-to-protect-and-expand-the-citys-tree-canopy.html Seattle voters overwhelmingly favor policies to protect and expand the city’s tree canopy – NPI’s Cascadia Advocate In July of 2021, we teamed up with TreePAC to investigate support for a a range of sensible ideas for creating policy … Continue reading

Friends of Seattle’s Urban Forest Response to Seattle City Council’s Passage of Tree Ordinance Update –

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Tree Protection Polling Results – Seattle. WA

Tree protection polling insights Prepared for the Seattle City Council by the Northwest Progressive Institute team May 3rd, 2023 Introduction Councilmembers, NPI thanks you for your work with Mayor Bruce Harrell to improve climate resilience and strengthen protections for Seattle’s … Continue reading

Updated Comments on Tree Ordinance Amendments proposed to be voted on by the Land Use Committee on May 4th

e-mail sent to Seattle City Council Dear Councilmember Dan Strauss, Concerns regarding amendments are based on Wednesday, April 26 amendment sheet, which is the latest the public has seen. We have not seen any updates on amendments on the Land Use Committee … Continue reading

Documents Relating to Seattle Draft Tree Protection Ordinance April 26, 2023

The Seattle City Council is in the processing of updating Seattle’s Tree Protection Ordinance. Wording for specific amendments is happening now. Final discussion and adoption of amendments will take place at two Special Land Use Committee meeting on Thursday May … Continue reading

2023 Seattle Tree Protection Poll Briefing by NPI

[pdf-embedder url=”http://friends.urbanforests.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/04/January-2023-Seattle-Tree-Protection-Findings-Briefing-Packet.pdf” title=”January 2023 Seattle Tree Protection Findings Briefing Packet”] Click on bottom of slide above to see results NW Progressive Institute – January 2023 See also:: Second set of Seattle tree protection poll findings affirms voters value urban forests … Continue reading