Thursday, August 12, 2010

Significant concerns about DPD’s proposal to eliminate all existing tree protections in the City of Seattle

City of Seattle
Planning Commission
700 Fifth Ave, Suite 200
PO Box 34019
Seattle, WA 98124-4019

August 12, 2010

In re: Significant concerns about DPD’s proposal to eliminate all existing tree protections in the City of Seattle

Dear Seattle Planning Commission:

As a member of the City of Seattle’s Urban Forestry Commission and the Chair of the commission’s Ecosystems Committee, I am writing to express my significant concerns about the absurd proposal from the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) that you will be considering today.  The proposal calls for the elimination of all existing protections for trees in the city – protections that form a proven and effective basic framework for the sustainable management of Seattle’s urban forest.

In 2009, the Seattle City Council passed Resolution 31138 which directed DPD to enhance existing protections for trees in the city.  In the resolution the Council noted that “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 improving on existing tree protection regulations” (emphasis mine).  In addition, the Council included specific directives within Resolution 31138 for how improvement of Seattle’s tree protections could best be accomplished.  Resolution 31138 specifically calls for DPD to “establish a comprehensive set of regulations” to improve tree protections by “establishing a requirement to obtain a permit before removing any tree,” “establishing a system of fines for tree removal,” and, most importantly, by “establishing additional protections for all City-designated exceptional trees.”     

The proposal presented for your consideration today represents an 180 departure from the intent and direction of the Seattle City Council and a significant set-back to the conservation of our urban forest and ecological functioning of our great City.  In addition, DPD’s proposal runs contrary to the recommendations of the Emerald City Task Force and Tree Advocates group, and to considerations of the City’s Urban Forestry Commission.  All of these important efforts (speciously cited in DPD’s report as somehow precursors to their non-normative proposal) cite the need for both a viable permit system for tree removal and for strengthening our exceptional tree regulations; DPD’s proposal astonishingly advocates for the very opposite. 

I urge you to reject the proposal before your commission today, and to provide feedback to DPD on the proposal’s stark inconsistency with the original intent and direction provided by Seattle’s City Council in Resolution 31138.  

Thank you for your time and consideration of these important concerns. 


Kirk Prindle
City of Seattle, Urban Forestry Commission
Position 1 – Wildlife Biologist
Ecosystem Committee Chair

ISA-Certified Arborist, Certification #: PN-6266A
Graduate – Community Tree Management Institute

1 comment:

GlennRoberts said...

How do Settle Planning Commission members get that job? Appointed? Elected? Volunteered?