Below are fantastic links from Dale Blahna who is a social scientist with the USFS locally. I’m sure there is a lot here to work with to make the case for/steward/protect trees.
Below are fantastic links from Dale Blahna who is a social scientist with the USFS locally. I’m sure there is a lot here to work with to make the case for/steward/protect trees.
On March 18, 2019 the Seattle City Council passed CB 119444 – Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) legislation.
As part of that legislation they passed a Companion Resolution – RESOLUTION 31870 calling for additional measures by the City and its partners that complement mandatory housing affordability (MHA) implementation to promote livability and equitable development, mitigate displacement, and address challenges and opportunities raised by community members during the MHA public engagement process.
Section 6 of that resolution dealt with updating Seattle’s Tree Protection Ordinance.
Section 5. The Council recognizes the environmental, social, and economic benefits of Seattle’s urban forest and commits to working with community members and City departments to update the City’s tree regulations, advancing the goals of the Urban Forest Stewardship Plan across Seattle. Potential measures may include, but are not limited to, the following:
A. Retaining protections for exceptional trees and expanding the definition of exceptional trees.
B. Creating a permitting process for the removal of significant trees, defined as trees 6 inches in diameter at breast height or larger.
C. Adding replacement requirements for significant tree removal.
D. Simplifying tree planting and replacement requirements.
E. Maintaining tree removal limits in single-family zones.
F. Exploring the feasibility of establishing a in-lieu fee option for tree planting.
G. Tracking tree removal and replacement throughout Seattle.
H. Providing adequate funding to administer and enforce tree regulations.
I. Requiring that all tree service providers operating in Seattle meet the minimum certification and training requirements and register with the city.
This is an affirmation by the Seattle City Council of their current intent to update Seattle’s Tree Protection Ordinance SMC 25.11. The Seattle City Council in 2009 passed a similar resolution but never updated the ordinance. It’s now 10 years later.
Unfortunately the Councilmember leading the effort, Rob Johnson, resigned on April 5, 2019.
Councilmember Sally Bagshaw has agreed to take over the update of the ordinance. The goal is to complete the drafting process of a new ordinance and have a vote by the end of September at the latest. In October and November the Seattle City Council shifts to drafting and adopting the City Budget.
September 12, 2018
Members of the Council’s Planning, Land Use and Zoning (PLUZ) Committee issued the following statement specific to the City’s forthcoming tree ordinance earlier today:
“The benefits of tree canopies are numerous: a cleaner, more resilient environment, and a more beautiful and equitable city are among them. Management of trees is part of the complex challenge necessary to preserve these important benefits. In response, the Council’s PLUZ committee has discussed a framework which aims to create stronger stewardship of the trees we have, allow our canopy to keep pace with growth and greater density, and plant more trees in neighborhoods that lack them.
“We share a common goal with many of our constituents to protect our environment and grow our tree canopy. Together with the community we have been seeking stronger protections for our city’s trees in order to meet our goal of at least 30% tree canopy coverage in Seattle. This approach inspired us to propose a new requirement for permits to remove significant trees, while also requiring those who remove trees to replace them.
“From the start we’ve been committed to crafting this proposal in an open manner. We’ve hosted three public meetings on the proposal and went to great lengths to include the public at the ‘table’ by releasing working drafts for community input. In our collective experience with Council policy-making, it is unusual for draft legislation to be released to the public and discussed in committee before a bill is officially introduced. We’ve taken this approach because of our shared desire to incorporate input we receive before introducing legislation. We have already included much of what we’ve heard, including lowering the threshold for tree replacement to 6” in diameter, requiring certification for tree service professionals and extending these protections to all zones throughout the City.
“We’ve also heard that the community is interested in taking more time to consider this draft legislation, and that adding new replacement requirements was not enough protection for exceptional trees. In response to that critical input, last week Chair Johnson made a commitment to take more time with this legislation. All three committee members also strongly agree with advocates that we must maintain and strengthen the current protections for exceptional trees.
“In addition to maintaining and strengthening protections for exceptional trees, the committee will continue to consider important issues including the method we use to measure trees, protections for tree groves, funding to properly enforce the ordinance, and more. We all believe that these can be resolved with the community through the normal legislative process. Some of these issues will be discussed at the September 19th, 2018 meeting of the Planning, Land Use and Zoning Committee meeting. We plan to continue consideration in December after our budget process wraps up.
“It’s our hope that this approach will serve to incentivize preservation of trees as our city grows, and will maintain Seattle’s reputation as a truly Emerald City.”
For 10 years Seattle has been saying it is going to update its Tree Protection Ordinance. While the Seattle City Council’s proposed goals on passing an updated Tree Protection Ordinance in its Concurrent Resolution 31870 to CB 119444 (see below) are laudable, in 2009 it passed a similar resolution, Resolution 31138, but after 10 years has not acted to follow through with passing new legislation.
Resolutions do not protect our urban forest as development continues to remove trees. While the City Council resolution proposes significant changes, the Seattle City Council needs to act to actually update its current Tree Protection Ordinance SMC 25.11, not just pass another resolution.
Seattle also continues to flagrantly ignore its existing requirement in SMC 25.11.090 since 2001, mandating developers replace all trees 24 ” DBH and larger and all exceptional trees removed during development.The MHA Ordinance does not address the issue of tree replacement not occurring.
One only needs to ask 2 questions to determine that most large or exceptional trees removed during development have not been replaced as required by SMC 25.11.090:
“Where are the replacement trees that were required to be planted the last 18 years.”
“If the developers did not replant the trees, how much money did the city get from the developers to replant the trees and where are they?”
Council Concurrent Resolution 31870 to MHA Ordinance CB 119444 – section 6 on trees:
Section 6. The Council recognizes the environmental, social, and economic benefits of Seattle’s urban forest and commits to working with community members and City departments to update the City’s tree regulations, advancing the goals of the Urban Forest Stewardship Plan. Potential measures may include, but are not limited to, the following:
A RESOLUTION concerning policies for the protection of trees on public and private property within the City of Seattle, stating the Council’s priorities for legislative and Departmental actions to increase the overall health, quality and the extent of trees within the City of Seattle.
Status: Adopted as Amended
Date adopted by Full Council: August 3, 2009
Vote: 8-0 (Excused: Clark)
Dear Seattle City Council,
Please add the following amendment proposed by the Seattle Urban Forestry Commission to the proposed Mandatory Housing Affordability Ordinance The language proposed is within the scope of the final Environmental Impact Statement as discussed in section 3.6.3 MITIGATION MEASURES. To sustain our urban forest it is essential that trees removed during development be replaced. The proposed amendment addresses that issue.
SMC 25.11.090 – Tree replacement and site restoration (A)
“Each exceptional significant tree (six inches DBH and larger) and over two (2) feet that is removed in association with development in all zones shall be replaced by one or more new trees, the size and species of which shall be determined by the Director; the tree replacement required shall be designed to result, upon maturity, in 20 years, in a canopy cover volume that is at least equal to the canopy cover volume prior to tree removal. Preference shall be given to on-site replacement. When on-site replacement cannot be achieved, or is not appropriate as determined by the Director, preference for off-site replacement shall be on public property a fee-in-lieu shall be paid to the City to replace and maintain the tree or trees in the neighborhood where they were removed or elsewhere as needed in the city. The City shall enter all significant trees on site, trees removed, and trees replaced into SDCI’s current database system; noting tree species, common name, DBH, height, condition and location.“
Please add this amendment to the final Mandatory Housing Affordability Ordinance. Tree replacement is important to not lose tree canopy. Can we count on you to support and vote for this amendment? Thank you.
January 9, 2019.
MHA Council Committee
600 4th Ave
Seattle, WA 98124
RE: Amendments to MHA Ordinance
The Urban Forestry Commission (UFC) would like to provide additional input as you undertake amendments for the Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) Ordinance.
The UFC is concerned about the feedback loop between all the different pieces of tree
protection legislation currently being considered. The Tree Protection Ordinance (currently on hold) affects Green Factor, its Director’s Rule, and the MHA Ordinance.
The UFC still feels mitigation measures proposed on the MHA EIS are not enough, especially being that the Tree Protection Ordinance is on hold. Available space for trees is being significantly reduced as part of MHA. The UFC believes the City needs to be more intent in protecting existing trees and requiring tree replacement. Other efforts that would support successful tree protection would include:
1. Clearly defining what a tree is (as done in version D7 of the Draft Tree Protection
2. Including protection for all significant trees 6” in diameter and larger (not just
exceptional trees) removed during development in all zones.
3. Establishing a fee-in-lieu option to fund tree replacement when it’s not possible to do
4. Replacing significant trees removed on site or paying an in-lieu fee to the City to
cover replacement and maintenance costs in the neighborhood or elsewhere in the city
as needed (SMC 25.11.090).
5. Establishing the tree replacement requirement to be calculated based on canopy
volume lost and tree species and size at maturity (in 20 years).
6. Setting a minimum canopy cover requirement per property, including Residential Small
7. Capturing all data on significant tree retention, loss, and replacement into the City’s
8. Properly funding enforcement for tree protection to be effective.
9. Considering previous input provided by the UFC on the Green Factor Director’s Rule
letter of recommendation and Draft MHA Ordinance recommendations, which was
based on the current draft DR and additional changes might be warranted.
The UFC would like to propose specific language changes to SMC 25.11.090 (A), as follows:
exceptional significant tree (six inches DBH and larger) and tree over two (2) feet that is removed in association with development in all zones shall be replaced by one or more new trees, the size and species of which shall be determined by the Director; the tree replacement required shall be designed to result , upon maturity in 20 years in a canopy cover volume that is at least equal to the canopy cover volume prior to tree removal. Preference shall be given to on-site replacement. When on-site replacement cannot be achieved, or is not appropriate as determined by the Director , preference for off-site replacement shall be on public property a fee-in-lieu shall be paid to the City to replace and maintain the tree or trees in the neighborhood where they were removed or elsewhere as needed in the city. The City shall enter all significant trees on site, trees removed, and trees replaced into SDCI’s current database system; noting tree species, common name, DBH, height, condition and location,
The UFC would be happy to work with Council to help explore creative ideas and solutions to support Seattle’s urban trees as our city grows and gets denser as well as coordinating the different elements to tree protection regulation currently being considered by the City.
Weston Brinkley, Chair Steve Zemke
cc: Mayor Durkan, Nathan Torgelson, Samuel Assefa, Jessica Finn Coven, Michelle Caulfield, David Driskell, Mi Podowski, Maggie Glowacki, Chanda Emery, Brennon Staley, Vera Giampietro, Urban Forestry Management Team, Urban Forestry Core Team, Sara Maxana, Aaron Blumenthal, Eric McConaghy, Yolanda Ho, Amanda Hohlfeld
see original document here – Re: Amendments to MHA Ordinance
The following email was sent to the Seattle City Council urging they add a tree
mitigation amendment to their proposed MHA Ordinance.
To Seattle City Council:
Last week the Seattle Urban Forestry Commission adopted and sent to the Seattle City Council and Mayor a letter entitled Re:Amendments to the MHA Ordinance Jan 9, 2019. In the letter was a specific recommended amendment regarding tree mitigation to add to the draft MHA ordinance 119184. It is within the scope of the MHA EIS. TreePAC and others support this amendment and need your help to sponsor it and get it considered by the full MHA Committee. Can you help us?
Proposed amendment: SMC 25.11.090 – Tree replacement and site restoration (A)
exceptional significant tree (six inches DBH and larger) and over two (2) feet that is removed in association with development in all zones shall be replaced by one or more new trees, the size and species of which shall be determined by the Director; the tree replacement required shall be designed to result , upon maturity, in 20 years, in a canopy cover volume that is at least equal to the canopy cover volume prior to tree removal. Preference shall be given to on-site replacement. When on-site replacement cannot be achieved, or is not appropriate as determined by the Director, preference for off-site replacement shall be on public property a fee-in-lieu shall be paid to the City to replace and maintain the tree or trees in the neighborhood where they were removed or elsewhere as needed in the city. The City shall enter all significant trees on site, trees removed, and trees replaced into SDCI’s current database system; noting tree species, common name, DBH, height, condition and location.”
References as to why this amendment is within the scope of the MHA EIS:
Under Section 3.6.3 Mitigation Measures in the MHA Final EIS Nov. 2017 Biological Resources Section it states “The following mitigation measures are provided which would reduce impacts.”…
“Executive Order 2017-11: Tree Protection:
In October of 2017, the Mayor signed executive order 2017-11 directing City departments to improve departmental coordination, strengthen enforcement and adopt new regulations to improve and expand protections for Seattle’s urban trees and canopy cover. …The order also calls for expansion of compliance options to include in-lieu payment options for tree mitigation. Fees from any in-lieu payment will be used for mitigating the loss of canopy cover through replanting and reforestation while prioritizing addressing racial and economic disparities in accessing and enjoying the benefits of urban trees.”
Burgess’s executive order 20-17 in “Section 1. Enforcement Adjustment and Procedural Improvements” says “(B) SDCI will require consistent documentation for required tree removal review on private property including mitigating canopy cover loss of trees removed, and monitoring of planted trees for survival. Informational materials and resources for developers, property owners, and the public related to trees and vegetation management shall be updated to reflect this emphasis”
Thanks for your consideration. We are also contacting other Council members asking for their support as we know 5 votes are needed to pass it.
Steve Zemke -Chair Friends of Seattle’s Urban Forest
Update – Coalition for a Stronger Tree Ordinance
Seattle City Council Again Delays Tree Protection Ordinance
Regretfully we end 2018 without an update to Seattle’s Tree Protection Ordinance. The Seattle City Council’s Planning, Land Use and Zoning Committee (PLUZ) had announced in Nov 2017 that they were going to once again attempt to update Seattle’s Tree protection Ordinance. In December of 2017 TreePAC and Friends of Seattle’s Urban Forest again joined with other community groups to coordinate a renewed effort to update Seattle’s Tree ordinance.
By August of 2018 the PLUZ Committee had produced 2 public drafts of a new ordinance and an least 8 internal drafts.
In late September, the Seattle City Council Planning, Land Use and Zoning Committee agreed with the Seattle Urban Forestry Commission and with TreePAC and other community groups and individuals that the city needed to slow down and draft a new Tree Ordinance that actually protected existing trees as well as requiring trees that were removed be replaced.
In October and November of 2018 the Seattle City Council dedicated its time and effort to drafting and passing the City Budget. Unfortunately after this was completed, the Planning, Land Use and Zoning Committee decided to shift their attention and staff to other legislation and delay further action on the Tree Protection Ordinance until after they pass their Mandatory Housing Affordability Ordinance. They have now tentatively said they would again work on the tree ordinance in the second quarter of 2019.
The Seattle City Council is now entering its tenth year since they passed Council Resolution 31138 urging an update of SMC 25.11 – the Tree Protection Ordinance. The Coalition for a Stronger tree Ordinance will continue to meet as an organization to build support across Seattle for a stronger tree ordinance as well as work with the City Council, Mayor and the Seattle Urban Forest Commission on specific language.
The Coalition continues to urge supporters to continue to contact the Mayor’s office and the City Council on a regular basis to urge they finally enact a strong tree protection ordinance and enforce it.
The main points to emphasize to them is that an updated ordinance must:
From: ReVisioning Northgate <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Thursday, December 06, 2018 5:33 PM
To: email@example.com; mike.o’firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; lorena.gonzález@seattlegov.org; Juarez, Debora <Debora.Juarez@seattle.gov>; firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Tree Code: SMC 25.11 and Council’s proposed changes
December 6, 2018
Dear Councilmembers Johnson, Herbold, O’Brien, and González,
City Council Planning, Land Use & Zoning Committee
ReVisioning Northgate is a community group dedicated to advocating for a healthy, safe, and livable Northgate with its surrounding neighborhoods. We applaud the effort to build a stronger and more enforceable, city-wide Tree Code, SMC 25.11, and of expanding protections to trees on private land. We urge the Council to keep tree preservation as the uppermost goal in each step of revising the Code, and to make this goal explicit in the final ordinance language.
RVN strongly supports the following:
We urge adoption of several of the Seattle Urban Forestry Commission’s suggested revisions from its letter to you dated August 31, 2018, and its responses to questions from the Council on November 18, 2018, especially that:
We agree with Councilmember O’Brien that preservation of and replacement with native hardwoods and conifers should be prioritized. We also urge that if trees are to be removed, they will be replaced by trees that will reach the same size or greater.
The reduction in diameter (DBH) of protected trees from 12” to 6” is greatly appreciated. As is the requirement to make tree service providers sign a statement affirming they know the rules.
We urge that new legislation require developers and builders work with City experts to adjust plans that would require tree removal, with the goal of preserving trees.
The removal of invasive, habitat-threatening trees should not require fees for permitting. These should be listed as exempt, and should include such species as Ilex aquifolium (English holly) and Laburnum anagyroides (chain tree).
And finally, RVN questions whether the fee to be charged for removing non-hazardous trees is a sufficient deterrent, or if it should be increased. At the same time, we question whether property owners should be charged for removing a truly hazardous tree, if experts agree it should be removed. The rules should be reasonable, and not simply a mechanism to generate fees and encourage non-compliance.
Trees are one of our city’s greatest resources. They are our allies in cleaning the air, cooling our increasingly warm, dry summers, controlling storm run-off, and soothing our collective and individual souls. They are indispensable to our streets and neighborhoods. They define the character of Seattle.
Susan Ward, Chair