Help Pass Seattle’s Interim Tree Protection Ordinance – email City Council & Attend Dec. 15th Hearing!

On Monday, December 15, 2008 at 5:30 p.m., the Seattle City Council Environment, Emergency Management, and Utilities Committee will hold a public hearing at Seattle City Hall, 600 4th Ave, on an emergency tree protection ordinance for the City of Seattle. The proposal would provide for interim protection for most trees for a period of six months to a year while Seattle develops a long-range solution to increase the tree canopy and stop the loss of healthy, mature trees.

For more information, see the following links:

Public Notice of Hearing
Briefing Memo
Council Bill 116404

Your input is vital to helping to pass this interim piece of legislation to protect trees in the City of Seattle. This bill was drafted as the result of our efforts to protect the trees at Ingraham High School from being needlessly cut down when alternatives existed to the proposed construction site. When the Seattle School District withdrew their construction permits in August of 2008, we went to King County Superior Court and got an injunction to stop the trees from being cut down. The Seattle School District’s attempted clear cutting of the trees without further environmental review by the city of Seattle exposed a loophole in Seattle’s tree protection ordinances. Other tree battles like trying to save trees at Waldo Woods in North Seattle also are driving this legislation.

If you cannot attend the Hearing on Monday at 5:30 PM it is critical that you send emails to all the City Council members urging their support for Council bill 116404 to provide interim tree protection until strong permanent protections can be put in place.

You can write one e-mail and send copies to all the council members by cutting and pasting the e-mails below.
Emails are:;;;;;;;;

This legislation is a first step towards strengthening tree protection laws in the City of Seattle. It is being attacked by so called “property rights advocates” who oppose efforts to protect trees. They are contacting members of the Seattle City Council with their opposition and we need to counter their efforts.

We need you to add your voice in support of the city stepping up and providing stronger protection for both individual trees and tree groves and our green urban habitat. Seattle’s urban tree canopy according to the city had decreased from 40% in 1973 to 18%. Unless we speak out our remaining urban trees are in danger of being lost because Seattle existing tree ordinance only provides protection to 1% total of all the trees through a very limited “exceptional tree” provision. Other cities in the region and in the US have much stronger protection measures.

Urge that the proposed legislation be amended to strengthen SEPA (State Environmental Policy Act) provisions, that permits be required to cut down any tree over 6” in diameter, that tree grove protections are vital to protecting unique urban habitats and that the exemption for “additions to existing buildings” be dropped or clarified as limited to a certain size.

Passing Council bill 116404 is only a first step but we need to take it to protect trees while permanent legislation is being drafted up. We need to generate strong citizen support via e-mails and people attending the hearing on Monday as a show of support for protecting trees in Seattle. Please help. Thanks.

The Seattle City Council noted the following:

1. “The public hearing on the tree protections is taking place in the Seattle Council Chambers (one floor above the 5th Ave entrance to City Hall) on the second floor. A different hearing will be taking place at the same time in the Bertha Knight Landes room on the first floor of City Hall (one floor below Council Chambers). This hearing is on the Mayor’s proposed gun ban and also begins at 5:30. “

2.” The sign up sheet to make public comments will be available at 5:00 pm on the December 15, 2008 right outside of Council Chambers. People will be called in the order in which they sign up.”

3. The City Council also suggests that you provide “your comments in written form either to all Council members via email, in hard copy when you come to the hearing, or via the USPS. This is important because comments are normally limited to two minutes and many people have more than can be said in that time. Submitting your comments in writing will ensure that the Council hears what you have to say.”

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