Wednesday, August 4, 2010

"different departments lack ability and interest to care…for the city’s urban forest.”

August 4, 2010 

Mayor Mike McGinn 

City Council President Conlin; Councilmember Licata; Councilmember Rasmussen; Councilmember Harrell; Councilmember Clark; Councilmember Bagshaw; Councilmember O’Brien; Councilmember Burgess; Councilmember Godden
Seattle Urban Forestry Commission 
C/o Tracy Morgenstern 
Seattle Office of Sustainability & Environment 

Seattle Department of Planning and Development [DPD] Proposed Tree Regulations, dated July 14, 2010 is regressive and lacks understanding for the ecological/environmental benefits of trees and urban wildlife habitat; scientific knowledge of tree values; the importance of a tree inventory; and the direction the city has taken to move forward towards the preservation and maintenance of the urban canopy and to increase the urban canopy to 30% [or more] including 
trees on public as well as private properties. 

For instance, with the establishment of the Seattle Urban Forestry Commission Council Bill Number 116577  [Ordinance 123052 —signed by the Mayor August 10, 2009] Councilmembers unanimously created legislation which recognized that “the City is undertaking efforts that promote the benefits of retaining and protecting the urban forest through the adoption of plans, policies and regulations protecting these resources…”   

At the same time Councilmembers unanimously, with the Mayor concurring, passed Resolution Resolution 31138 which directed DPD to: establish permit requirements to obtain a permit before removing any tree;  prohibit the removal of trees in required yards or required setbacks during construction [with exceptions]; provide incentives to retain existing trees; provide incentives to protect groves of trees; establish a system of fines for tree removal without a permit; establish additional protections for city-designated exceptional trees; and adopt tree planting and tree retention requirement for all new or modified structures serving Institutions, City Facilities, Public Facilities, Schools, etc.  

The City Auditor completed a management audit [5/09] on Urban Forest Management Plan. . The audit was clear that the City’s management framework is not effective for tree preservation or increase of the city’s canopy. 
DPD’s July 2010 Proposed Tree Regulation Report gives evidence that the City Auditor’s report is correct—“different departments lack ability and interest to care…for the city’s urban forest.”  

Thank you for your attention, 
Cheryl Trivison 
Seattle Urban Forest Stakeholders founding member 

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