Council President Richard Conlin
Council member Nick Licata
Council approves new tree protection guidelines Implementation begins in 2010, establishes an Urban Forestry Commission
SEATTLE - The City Council today unanimously passed two measures to
improve the management of the city’s trees and strengthen protections
to ensure the health, quality, and overall coverage of Seattle’s tree
Resolution 31138 asks the Department of Planning and Development to
write a new tree protection ordinance. It outlines specific policy
initiatives that the Council believes critical to successful urban
forest management. Council Bill 116557 establishes a nine-member Urban
Forestry Commission to advise the mayor and Council and help educate the
public on urban forestry issues.
"Our urban trees are an incredibly valuable resource -- and we must act
if we want to keep them,” said Council President Richard Conlin.
“The review by the City Auditor told us that the city must improve
our system for protecting and managing trees. We need updated code that
recognizes the economic, environmental, and social values that trees
Both measures are in response to a dramatic 50 percent loss of tree
cover over the last forty years. The city continues to lose mature trees
that provide cooling shade, improve air quality, provide wildlife
habitat, sequester climate changing carbon, help with drainage issues by
retaining water and improve property value.
"The Urban Forestry Commission will provide well-rounded expertise to
assist the city in protecting and expanding our tree canopy while
accommodating growth,” added Councilmember Nick Licata.
A report by the City Auditor in 2009 highlighted that most of the
implementation work outlined in the Urban Forest Management Plan has not
Resolution 31138 requests that DPD write new regulations that consider
preventing tree removal in required yards and setbacks, create a
permitting system and fines for non-permitted tree removal, provide
clearer direction for tree relocation and develop incentives for
retention. It also asks DPD to consider Transfer Development Rights to
developers, giving them more flexibility for creative solutions to
Seattle’s urban canopy crisis.
The Urban Forestry Commission will include a community group
representative, experts with technical backgrounds in wildlife biology,
arboriculture, landscape architecture, and a representative of the
development community. It will be staffed by the Office of
Sustainability and Environment.
Archives of previous meetings, news releases and copies of legislation are available on the Council’s website at www.seattle.gov/council
. Council meetings are cablecast live on Seattle Channel 21 and webcast live at www.seattlechannel.org/viewer_live.asp
. Questions about Council news releases can be directed to Debra Carnes, Council Communications, at 206-684-8159, or by e-mail at email@example.com.