Spring 2015

tree2 croppedA public hearing on a draft tree code recommended by the city’s Citizens Tree Board will be held May 27, 2015 before the Planning Board. The draft tree code would significantly change the way the City permits tree removal. The draft tree code is available at this link. Citizens can provide input on the draft tree code by providing public testimony at the hearing, submitting written comments to the Planning Division, or via email.  

The new draft code would require a permit for removal of any tree not associated with a development proposal, eliminating most existing exceptions. It would provide a tiered permitting system depending on the category of tree and number of trees proposed for removal. Because the new permitting system would be more comprehensive than the current one, it is anticipated that additional staffing would be needed for administering the program, including more staff needed for permitting and enforcement. Additionally, the application requirements will add costs for property owners.

A major change underlying the new draft tree code is establishing a minimum tree density requirement for single-family property depending on the zone the property is in. The intent of the density requirement is to maintain or expand tree coverage within the City of Edmonds. 

Tree cutting in the City of Edmonds is currently regulated by a number of different code provisions, including ECDC 18.45 Land Clearing and Tree Cutting, the Right-of-way Tree Removal or Trimming Policy adopted November 18, 2014, and the City's Critical Area regulations in ECDC 23.40 - 23.90. Various other city regulations, such as commercial and multifamily landscaping requirements, also have some aspect that applies to regulating trees within the City. The existing tree regulations are fragmented, difficult for citizens to understand, often conflicting, and cumbersome for staff to implement. A primary intent of the tree code update is to develop a more comprehensive tree code with a clear vision, one which is easier for citizens to understand and more clear for staff to implement.

The Planning Board’s public hearing on the Tree Board recommended draft tree code will be at 7 p.m. on May 27, 2015 in the Council Chambers located at 250 – 5th Avenue North.  

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