Action Alert – Public Hearing on Tree Ordinance Update This Wednesday, Sept 5th

The Seattle Land Use and Zoning Committee of the Seattle City Council is holding a Public Hearing on its proposed draft Tree Ordinance:

 Wednesday, Sept 5, 2018
9:30 AM to 11:30 AM (sign up starts at 9 AM)

Seattle City Hall, City Council Chambers,
600 4th Ave, Seattle,WA 98104

Please come and testify or send a letter to the Mayor and City Council. and

Issues to comment on:

  1. Allow more time for possible changes. analysis of impacts, and public input on the current tree ordinance draft by delaying final action to the beginning of 2019 as recommended by the Seattle Urban Forestry Commission (See more detail below)
  2. Put back existing protections for Exceptional Trees –  “An exceptional tree is a tree that: 1. Is designated as a heritage tree by the City of Seattle; or 2. Is rare or exceptional by virtue of its size, species, condition, cultural/historic importance, age, and/or contribution as part of grove of trees “.  Lower the threshold for large exceptional trees to 24 ” diameter at 54 inches high (DBH).
  3. Limit removal of trees to no more than 2 per year on developed property.
  4. Put back the prohibition on cutting down trees greater than 6″ DBH on undeveloped lots
  5. Base tree permits on diameter and species of trees, not tree canopy measurements. 
  6. Require all trees 6″ DBH and larger that are  removed to be replaced on site or off site or a replacement and maintenance  fee be paid to the city.
  7. Require 2 week posting and yellow ribbons on trees for all permits for removal;, include on line public posting of applications and permit approvals.

You can see a more detailed explanation of the pros and cons of the proposed Tree Ordinance here: 
Friends of Seattle’s Urban Forest Analysis of Pros and Cons of Draft Tree Ordinance

Ordinance Language for Repeal and Replacement of SMC 25.11 – Seattle’s Tree Protection Ordinance  now called the Tree Regulation Bill – August 16, 2018  

This is the only scheduled public hearing on the proposed Tree Ordinance update. After this hearing the Planning Land Use and Zoning Committee is currently planning to meet on Wed. Sept 19 to discuss the bill, possibly consider amendments and vote on it. It would then go to the full City Council the next week for a final vote.

This last Friday the Seattle Urban Forestry Commission voted unanimously to urge the City Council:

to extend the public comment period and allow for more evaluation of the proposed ordinance. Revising the tree code for Seattle is long overdue and nearly a decade in the making, however, the UFC believes fully understanding the potential impacts, incentives, and enforceability of the draft code will take more time than is currently planned for in this process. Please move the final decision on this to 2019 to allow for additional consideration, definition, analysis, and public input on the impacts of such policy proposals. One public daytime hearing on a still being revised draft is not adequate public involvement on a major policy issue affecting all property in the city.”

You can read the Seattle Urban Forestry Commission’s full recommendations here :
  “LEG Tree regulation updates ORD D7” and August 16, 2018 Central Staff Memo “Summary of proposed tree regulation bill and identified issues”

Thanks for your support and help.

Steve Zemke

Chair – Coalition for a Stronger Tree Ordinance – a joint coordinating project of the Friends of Seattle’s Urban Forest and and



Action Alert – Public Hearing on Tree Ordinance Update This Wednesday, Sept 5th — 3 Comments

  1. Please extend the public comment time on this proposal. We should have conversations all over the city about the importance of trees in our urban environment. I am a life-long Seattle resident, as were my parents. Trees are such an important part of our identity and our inheritance.

  2. The city government has continually failed it current citizens and more importantly future generations by allowing the deforestation of the city especially “heritage trees”as the population dramatically increases. Please for the sake of the children, to fight climate change and ecosystem of the area protect existing tree and ensure replanting of trees that have been removed.