Create a Tree Master Plan for Bellevue

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I recommend that the City create a Tree Master Plan which covers the strategy for how Bellevue will meet its goal of at least 40% tree canopy coverage, when will this achieved, what is the on-going process, and how citizen involvement will be used to reach consensus that is right for Bellevue.

"Tree canopy in Bellevue has decreased 20 percent since 1986, a loss conservatively estimated to be equivalent to $15 million in lost stormwater services and $68,000 per year in lost air quality removal services.' Tree Canopy, Comp Plan

We, the City of Bellevue, have agreed in the Comprehensive Plan to work towards a goal of at least 40% tree canopy coverage. However, it is unclear how and when we will meet this goal.

""EN-12  Work toward a citywide tree canopy target of at least 40% canopy coverage that reflects our “City in a Park” character and maintain an action plan for meeting the target across multiple land use types including right-of-way, public lands, and residential and commercial uses." Policies, Environmental Steward-ship, Comp Plan

Improving the health and sustainability of the urban forest is complex. Many policy areas are involved, such as parks, transportation, economic development, and planning and development.

Bellevue needs a Tree Master Plan. Without a strategy, the many efforts needed to reach our goal lack the ability to make timely and effective decisions. The neighborhoods need a shared direction and understand the unique role each plays. We should not wait ten years for the neighborhood subarea comprehensive plans to define their unique standards, when together we can agree to a minimal standard for all neighborhoods.

The value of trees goes beyond aesthetics. Clean air, clean water, and more walkable streets improve our health. By reducing heat islands, decreasing stormwater flooding, absorbing carbon dioxide, and shading building, trees reduce energy use and environmental impacts. Trees have impacts on economic development and sense of community. Now is the time to create a shared plan.