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Tree Protection - What & Why

Tree Protection

What's Happening Now?

The Hearing Examiner upheld the City’s environmental (SEPA) determination on August 11, 2022.  We will submit our final recommendations for this legislation to the Mayor by Q4 2022.

SDCI, in consultation with the Office of Sustainability & Environment (OSE), has prepared draft tree protection updates to amend Title 23 (Land Use Code) and Title 25 (Tree Protection Code). We are also proposing two draft Director's Rules.  These updates respond to direction from the City Council to explore the strategies from Resolution 31902 adopted September 16, 2019 to increase tree protection to be consistent with the goals and policies of the 2015-2035 Comprehensive Plan and the 2020 Urban Forest Management Plan (UFMP)

Project Benefits

This draft legislation includes the following:

  • Expand the types and sizes of trees that are regulated, including a new definition of significant trees
  • Apply replacement requirements to include significant trees 12 inches in diameter and larger
  • Simplify regulations, including allowing development standards to be modified to aid in tree preservation as an administrative process without requiring Design Review, while maintaining Design Review as an option in multifamily and commercial zones
  • Establish a payment option for tree replacement (payment in lieu), which is subject to further development to address City costs including establishment of planted trees
  • Support tracking of tree preservation, removal, and replacement
  • Increase penalties for violations of tree regulations

The End Result

Our draft legislation allows SDCI to complete the environmental (SEPA) review step in the legislation development process. Final recommendations for the Mayor and Council will follow completion of the SEPA process.  

Construction and Inspections

Nathan Torgelson, Director
Address: 700 5th Ave, Suite 2000, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 34019, Seattle, WA, 98124-4019
Phone: (206) 684-8600
Phone Alt: Violation Complaint Line: (206) 615-0808
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SDCI issues land use, construction, and trade permits, conducts construction and housing-related inspections, ensures compliance with our codes, and regulates rental rules. SDCI is committed to an antiracist workplace and to addressing racism through our work in the community.