SEATTLE – Councilmember Dan Strauss(District 6 – Northwest Seattle), Chair of the Land Use Committee, and Councilmember Alex Pedersen (District 4 – Northeast Seattle) announced the release of proposed legislation to expand protections for trees in Seattle.
The publication of proposed legislation and environmental reviews by the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI) removes a major obstacle to the long-held goal of adopting stronger tree protections and could clear the way for City Council action.
In 2019, before taking office, Councilmember Strauss helped author Resolution 31902, by which the former Mayor and Council jointly committed to considering stronger tree protections in 2020. The resolution included a commitment to “submit legislation in 2020 for consideration by the Council.” The COVID-19 pandemic delayed this work, and while legislation was developed in 2021, City departments were not authorized to release it to the public or City Council until now.
“I am relieved SDCI has finally been allowed to release legislation to create stronger tree protections,” Strauss said. “SDCI has been working hard to create these policies and they are able to share their work because we now have a Mayor who is committed to working together.”
Strauss continued: “We know we can have stronger tree protections and build the housing and density our city needs, and we know we need to re-tree many parts of our city while protecting the tree canopy we have today.”
Councilmember Pedersen agrees: “I’m grateful the department finally released their overdue comprehensive proposal to protect trees and—while the devil is in the details as to whether their proposal does enough to protect our dwindling tree canopy vital during the climate crisis for environmental and health benefits—I’m excited that our other Council Bill 120207 can be part of these overall efforts because it can quickly deliver accountability and transparency by finally requiring the registration of all arborist professionals in Seattle.”
The proposal is now subject to a comment and appeal period under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA). Members of the public can provide feedback on the proposal to SDCI until March 3. The City Council can consider the proposed legislation once all comment windows close and any SEPA appeals are resolved.