Additional Comments to Urban Forestry Commission – regarding Seattle DPD’s latest draft tree ordinance updates
July 18, 2012
Steve Zemke Chair-Save the Trees- Seattle
Are DPD’s proposed revisions to our tree code the best we can do? It is important to compare them with what others are doing and one example is the new ordinance passed by Portland, Oregon last year. Portland’s adopted code is much stronger than that proposed by DPD for Seattle.
On April 13, 2011 Portland, Oregon adopted much stronger tree protection regulations to protect their urban forest. The ordinance became effective May 13, 2011 and the actual regulations go into effect on Feb 1, 2011. You can see the ordinance here:
http://www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/index.cfm?&a=3457132 page summary
https://www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/article/350786?&login=1Title 11 Trees Portland, Oregon
Portland currently has about a 26% canopy cover and has a goal of reaching 33%.
Their new ordinance consolidates tree rules under one title.
It addresses both public and private trees, both during development and outside development.
A City Forester is responsible for trees outside the development process and acts as a consultant during the development process with their development agency and also with a “responsible Engineer” overseeing utility, street trees and other public trees.
A two tier permit system to remove trees is established, applications being in writing or online.
Prior exemption for single family lots removed because of confusion.
It applies to street and city trees 3” or larger in diameter and private trees 12” or larger in diameter
private trees in some special zones 6” or larger also covered
Tree for tree replacement required for most permits, with inch for inch replacement or mitigation on 20 “‘ or larger trees.
A fee is assessed to process applications.
Tree permits must be posted on site.
Applicants can appeal city decisions on tree permits. Public can appeal decisions on trees 20” or greater or more than 4 trees per year 12” or larger.
Development process focuses on saving large healthy trees, native trees and groves.
Building permits require 1/3 of trees on site 12” or larger to be retained or mitigated.
Building permits require meeting tree density standards and achieving baseline canopy goals.
These are a few of the provisions in Portland’s tree ordinance. It is important to note that this ordinance was developed in a much more open and public process than DPD’ has used. We ask again that DPD post all meetings open to the public on their website so that citizens in Seattle can find opportunities to listen to the discussion and give feedback to the City. We also ask that DPD publicly post all comments submitted on their website, like Shoreline recently did, and like what is happening currently on comments on the Urban Forest Management Plan Update.
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