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Seattle City Council Resolutions

Information retrieved on January 15, 2019 7:52 PM

Resolution Number: 31138


Title
A RESOLUTION concerning policies for the protection of trees on public and private property within the City of Seattle, stating the Council's priorities for legislative and Departmental actions to increase the overall health, quality and the extent of trees within the City of Seattle.


Status: Adopted as Amended
Date adopted by Full Council: August 3, 2009
Vote: 8-0 (Excused: Clark)

Date introduced/referred to committee: May 26, 2009
Committee: Environment, Emergency Management and Utilities
Sponsor: CONLIN
Committee Recommendation:
Date of Committee Recommendation:
Committee Vote:

Index Terms: STATING-POLICY, TREES, ENVIRONMENTAL-PROTECTION

References/Related Documents: Related: CB 116577

Fiscal Note: Fiscal Note to Resolution 31138

Scan of signed legislation: PDF scan of Resolution No. 31138



Text

A RESOLUTION concerning policies for the protection of trees on public and private property within the City of Seattle, stating the Council's priori ties for legislative and Departmental actions to increase the overall heal th, quality and the extent of trees within the City of Seattle.

WHEREAS, trees in the City of Seattle provide environmental, aesthetic and economic value to both public and private property; and,

WHEREAS, enhancing existing protections for trees, provided in the City's Comprehensive Plan and the Municipal Code, are necessary to ensure that th ese efforts are sustainable; and,

WHEREAS, while the City has not adopted the 2007 Urban Forestry Management Plan, it supports many of the findings, conclusions and recommendations l isted in that plan; and,

WHEREAS, the May 2009 report prepared by the City of Seattle Auditor's Off ice titled 'Management of Trees in Seattle' calls for actions to be implem ented to improve the City's stewardship of trees on both public and privat e property; and

WHEREAS, the City has a legitimate interest in extending tree protections to uses in all of the City's zones, as well as expanding, clarifying and i mproving on existing tree protection regulations affecting such permitted uses;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SEATTLE, THE MAYOR CONCURRING:

Section 1. The City Council requests that the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) submit legislation by May 2010 to establish a comprehens ive set of regulations and incentives to limit the removal of trees and pr omote the retention and addition of trees within the City of Seattle on both private and public pr operty, including city park land. DPD shall consult with all city departme nts that own lands that will be affected by these regulations or incentive s. The City Council further requests that DPD look to tree permitting requirements, standards and thre sholds adopted by other Washington state jurisdictions, including but not limited to the City of Redmond, City of Lake Forest Park, City of Beaux-Ar ts, and the City of Woodinville in developing the permitting elements of the legislation. In developing th e legislation, the Council requests that DPD consider, but not be limited to, the following:

a. Establishing a requirement to obtain a permit before removing any tree in any residential, commercial or industrial zone;

b. Prohibiting the removal of trees in required yards or required setbacks during construction but allowing exceptions when evidence is presente d that development of the site would be substantially precluded or proh ibited or when documentation is provided by a licensed or accredited professional that the health of th e tree would be significantly undermined as a result of construction;

c. Expanding Seattle Municipal Code section 23.84A to include definitions that support tree protection, planting and preservation measures;

d. Allowing exemptions to the permit requirement that include emergency ac tivities, routine maintenance and tree removal for construction of stre ets or utilities;

e. Providing incentives to retain existing trees and plant new trees, to i nclude relief from land use code development standards such as height l imits, setbacks, lot coverage, density, floor area ratio and minimum pa rking requirements;

f. Creating standards that allow for the relocation of an exceptional or s ignificant tree from private property to public property or to another private property with a covenant for maintaining the tree, if it is sho wn that retention of the tree substantially limits the ability to develop to the potential allowed in t he zone where the lot or site is located and an arborist certifies that this can be done while maintaining the health of the tree;

g. Using the Transfer of Development Rights to provide incentives to prote ct existing groves of trees;

h. Including provisions that allow alternative ways to retain canopy cover when trees are removed, such as contributing to a fund to plant and/or maintain other trees or replacing the trees removed with trees totalin g an equal number of caliper inches on the site or other locations;

i. Establishing permit review fees that are based on a reasonable reimburs ement for permit review time including processing applications, inspect ing, reviewing plans or preparing detailed statements required by chapt er 43.21C RCW;

j. Establishing criteria to permit the removal of a tree or trees;

k. Adopting tree protection standards that allow for removal of a limited number of trees in a single calendar year, taking into account uses and opportunities in different land use zones;

l. Establishing a system of fines for tree removal without a permit, or in violation of tree protection regulations;

m. Establishing additional protections for all City-designated exceptional trees.

n. Requiring applicants to designate any trees that might be candidates fo r Exceptional Tree status at the Early Design Guidance stage, so that D PD can rule on these to allow alternate massing schemes to be developed at an early stage that take protecting such trees into account; and,

o. Working with City staff and external experts to model the expected resu lts and impacts of the provisions, using real project examples to analy ze whether they provide real protection and enhancement of the tree can opy without inappropriately limiting development that fulfills the City's commitments under the Growth Management Act, particularly in urban villages, urban centers, and tra nsit hubs.

Section 2. The City Council requests that the Department of Planning and Development submit legislation by May 2010 that revises existing tree plan ting requirements in all zones, to include the consideration of:

a. An appropriate increase in the required minimum caliper dimension, base d on best available science;

b. Increasing the required minimum number of trees to be planted or retain ed;

c. If a project is subject to Green Factor requirements in the Land Use C ode, a separate ratio that favors retention of existing onsite trees ve rsus new plantings; and,

d. Establishment of a minimum required canopy coverage area as a percentag e of the area of any surface parking lot, to be achieved over a specifi c time frame, in addition to any other vegetation requirements

Section 3. The City Council requests that by January 2010 the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) update all documents related to the prot ection of Exceptional Trees to include all 59 'heritage' trees currently d esignated by the Seattle Department of Transportation in addition to any other 'heritage' trees des ignated through the end of 2009. This update includes but is not limited t o any Client Assistance Memoranda or Director's Rules promulgated by DPD. The City Council further requests that by January 2010, DPD amend as appropriate all documents that detail protections related to Exceptional Trees to include the specific t ree species of each such 'heritage' tree and adopt related thresholds for caliper inches of each such protected species by January 2010, as appropriate. Finally, the City Counc il requests that by January 2010 all 'heritage' trees be shown on the Geog raphic Information System maintained by any City department, also by Janua ry 2010.

Section 4. The City Council requests that the Department of Planning and Development submit legislation by May 2010 that adopts tree planting and tree retention requirements for all new or modified structures serving Ins titutions, City Facilities, Public Facilities and Schools, similar to those found for other permitted uses in the zone in which each such use is located.

Section 5. The City Council requests that the City's Office of Sustainab ility and Environment prepare and present to the Council a formal cost est imate and plan for conducting physical inventories of all trees on public and private property in the City of Seattle, employing a sampling model similar to that developed by t he City of Portland and detailed in Portland's '2007 Urban Forest Canopy A ssessment and Public Tree Evaluation'. The inventory proposal shall be com pleted and results presented to the City Council by March 2010.

Section 6. The City Council requests that Seattle City Light report to t he Council on its efforts to implement the recommendations contained in th e May 2009 City Auditor's report for improved coordination between Seattle City Light's Vegetation Management Unit and the Capital Improvement Planning. This report shall be provided to the Council by May 2010.

Section 7. The City Council requests that Seattle City Light and the Sea ttle Department of Transportation report to the Council on efforts to impl ement recommendations contained in the May 2009 City Auditor's report conc erning a mutually agreed upon tree planting list at or near overhead power lines. This report shall be p rovided to the Council by March 2010.

Section 8. The City Council requests that the Seattle Department of Tran sportation report to the Council on efforts to improve coordination betwee n its Street Maintenance Division and its Urban Forestry Division as recom mended in the May 2009 City Auditor's report. This report shall be provided to the Council by March 2 010.

Section 9. The City Council requests that the Office of Sustainability a nd Environment present a report to Council by May 2010 that identifies opp ortunities to encourage owners of existing homes and buildings to retain, maintain and plant trees through education and incentives, including an analysis of utility rates a nd permit fees for the use of City rights-of-way and City facilities.

Section 10. The City Council requests that the Seattle Department of Tra nsportation submit legislation by May 2010 that provide standards for prot ection and retention of existing trees planted in the City's rights-of-way .

Section 11. The City Council requests that the Seattle Department of Tran sportation submit legislation or a Director's rule by May 2010 to state th e requirements necessary to obtain a permit to use the public right of way to move a structure.

Adopted by the City Council the ____ day of ____________________, 20____, and signed by me in open session in authentication of its adoption this___ _____ day of ______________________, 20__. _______________________________ __ President ___________of the City Council

The Mayor concurring: Dated: ____________________, 2009 _________________ ________________ Gregory J. Nickels, Mayor

Filed by me this ____ day of ________________________, 20__. _____________ _______________________ City Clerk

August 2, 2009 Version #15 clean final ta

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