We're losing our trees! Please enforce and update Seattle's Tree Protection Ordinance.
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Seattle is not only losing its big trees but many others as developers scrape lots clean of trees to maximize their building sizes. We are not only losing these trees but they are not even being replaced as required by city law.
Where are the replacement trees required to be planted by developers under Seattle's current Tree Protection Ordinance?
First passed in 2001, Seattle's Tree Protection Ordinance in Section 25.11.090 -Tree Replacement and Site Restoration, requires developers to replace all trees removed that are over 2 feet in diameter or that are exceptional, either on site or off site on public property. But it's not happening!
The Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections and its predecessors have not and are not enforcing this provision with any consistency or rigor. No mention of this provision appears in either their website instructions or printed instructions for developers.
No previous database exists of past tree removals and replacements. The current new Accela system being implemented by the city is not set up to inventory trees and track removals and replacements during development.
We urge you to enforce Seattle's current Tree Protection Ordinance!
Please make protecting and growing Seattle's urban forest and trees a priority in meeting Seattle's urban canopy goals. Tree removals are increasing drastically with Seattle current intensive development.
Require the Department of Construction and Inspections to vigorously enforce all provisions in the current ordinance and future updates. If they cannot do this, then transfer tree oversight and protection to the Office of Sustainability & Environment as recommended by the Seattle City Auditor in 2009.
We urge you to strengthen our existing Tree Ordinance now!
As recommended by the Seattle Urban Forestry Commission and 33 citizen groups who signed the Coalition for a Stronger Tree Ordinance letter of recommendations to the Mayor and City Council, move forward now to update and strengthen our current ordinance. We also support the recommendations as summarized in the July 11, 2018 recommendation of the Seattle Urban Forestry Commission:
"The Commission urges you to require that SDCI immediately start enforcing SMC 25.11.090 as outlined in 25.11.100. We also urge you to include the spirit of provision SMC 25.11.090 in the next iteration of the tree code and all supplemental documentation related to the new code, stressing the importance of identifying existing trees; discouraging removal of large and exceptional trees; keeping track of preservation/removals/replacement; replanting trees on site, when possible; and establishing a fee-in-lieu to fund tree protection and planting.
We reiterate our recommendations to require tree mitigation/replacement for all trees 6” DBH and larger (whether hazardous or not); in all zones; during and outside of development; to establish a tree removal permit; and to institute a fee-in-lieu option to seed a tree mitigation fund."
The current draft of the tree ordinance needs to put back major tree protection measures it is removing. These include protections for exceptional trees (largest of their species) and tree groves, prohibiting cutting down more than 3 trees a year, and prohibiting cutting down trees greater than 6 inches on vacant lots. It also needs to require all trees cut down that are larger than 6' DBH to be replaced.
Please sign and share this petition with family, friends, and others today. The trees need us to speak up now to keep Seattle a green and livable city. Thanks.
Steve Zemke - Chair
Coalition for a Stronger Tree Ordinance - a joint project of Friends of Seattle's Urban Forest and TreePAC
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