SEATTLE – Councilmembers Dan Strauss (District 6, Northwest Seattle,) and Alex Pedersen (District 4, Northeast Seattle,) issued the following statements after the Hearing Examiner for the City of Seattle affirmed the Seattle Department of Construction & Inspections (SDCI)’s decision to issue a Determination of Nonsignificance for the proposed tree protection ordinance. The Hearing Examiner’s decision removes a major obstacle to the long-held goal of adopting stronger tree protections.
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 February 2022.
The Seattle Department of Construction & Inspections (SDCI) prepared the long-awaited tree protection draft ordinance to increase city tree protections to be consistent with the goals and policies of the 2015-2035 Comprehensive Plan and the 2020 Urban Forest Management Plan.
Councilmember Dan Strauss, (District 6, Northwest Seattle):
“We have the ability to protect trees and create the space for the density our city desperately needs. To become a modern, climate resilient city we need to allow builders to create the density our city needs and to protect and grow our tree canopy.
Seattle is called ‘the Emerald City’ for a reason, and we need to do better at preserving our cherished urban forestry. We know trees add value to existing homes and development and many parts of our city need more tree canopy. I am excited to finally be able to create stronger tree protections here in the Emerald City.”
Councilmember Alex Pedersen, (District 4, Northeast Seattle):
“I am very pleased that the City Hearing Examiner rejected the appeal by some real estate developers that, unfortunately, resulted in yet another delay in our efforts to strengthen Seattle’s tree protection ordinance. We already know trees provide numerous public health and environmental benefits, which include reducing the harmful heat island impacts of climate change. More trees need to be protected and planted now, especially in low income communities. I look forward to working with the Urban Forestry Commission and other stakeholders to finally implement an effective tree ordinance for our ‘Emerald City.’”
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