Trees for All

The Problem

Managing Trees is Complex

Nine different city departments manage trees, and it’s often confusing as to who does what and when a permit is needed. And there’s a need for better data to account for changes to our tree canopy.

Lack of Environmental Equity

Wealthy, white neighborhoods are more likely to have tree-lined streets than poor neighborhoods or neighborhoods of color.

The Solution

Councilmember Johnson’s proposed framework would create stronger stewardship of the trees we have, allow our canopy to keep pace with growth and greater density, and plant more trees in neighborhoods that lack them: poor areas and communities of color.

Tree Canopy Infographic from Councilmember Rob Johnson


  • A Cleaner Environment
    Improved water quality and cleaner air
  • A More Resilient Environment
    A more robust ecosystem responsive to climate change
  • A More Beautiful City
    Increased natural beauty & better connection to nature
  • A Healthier City
    Better mental & physical health for everyone
  • A More Equitable City
    More trees will be planted in areas without them

How it Works

  1. Create a One-Stop Online Portal for Tree Permits
    A new citywide website would be created for tree permits, making it simple for the public to get what they need.
  2. Require a Permit for Cutting Down Trees
    Any tree over 12” in diameter or trees designated to have special value would requite a permit for removal.
  3. Plant a New Tree(s) Somewhere Else
    You can replace the lost canopy by planting a new tree(s) on your property or nearby.

  1. Pay into a “Tree Offset” Fund
    If you don’t want to replace the tree onsite, you can pay an in lieu fee and the city will plant tree(s) elsewhere.


Simultaneous with the publication of the SEPA notice, the draft tree regulation bill will be available on this webpage. The draft bill will also be linked to the SEPA notice.

Public comment will be taken during PLUZ meetings. The public hearing on the draft bill is planned for September 5. Written comment on the draft bill may be sent to Councilmember Johnson at or PO Box 34025 |Seattle, WA 98124-4025.

Times/Dates subject to change.

Publish SEPA Notice
Publish notice of State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) threshold determination regarding tree regulation legislation around the end of July
Comment & Appeal Period
Comment and appeal period on SEPA threshold determination for bill around the end of July-beginning of August
Possible Briefing & Discussion
Possible briefing and discussion at the Planning, Land Use & Zoning Committee (PLUZ) on Wednesday, August 1, 2018
Public Hearing
Public hearing at the PLUZ Committee on Wednesday, September 5, 2018
Discussion & Possible Vote
Discussion and possible vote at the PLUZ Committee on Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Get Involved