Facts: Losing our Trees

1) The hardship exemption (or, Weasel Clause) allows any property owner to remove any Exceptional Tree where ‘full development potential’ is prevented from being realized by presence of a protected tree on the site. In this video a city planner’s explanation is greeted with derision when he conveys this ‘developer driven’ clause. Video 

2) Tree protection is undermined by the circular argument that ‘Trees Are a Burden’ on a developer seeking to realize the full development potential of a property. Video 

3) The value of trees can be appraised. Video

4) The urban forest receives only lip service in the Seattle Climate Change initiative. Video

5) Regulation of the urban forest resource is accomplished by the Seattle Municipal Code. The Growth Management Act tends to diminish enforcement of environmental protections in the local code by a fantastic assumption that rural resources are somehow spared by concentration of development in cities. 7 minute video, Part 1. Part 2 of the video 25 minutes

6) Sloppy administration of tree contracts by government agencies such as the Army Corps of Engineers undermines public confidence. Video

7) UW administration of Parks property continues the poor practice of reducing Arboretum maintenance budgets while promoting new construction. Video

8) Patterns of abuse by the UW of the public urban forest resource are hidden from scrutiny & protected legally by ‘piecemealing’ documented violations of statutes into supposedly isolated incidents that are ‘forgiven’ by ‘retroactive tree removal permits’, and conducting discussions ‘behind closed doors’. Video

9) Proposed code ‘updates’ actually roll back environmental regulation, in contradiction to goals in the Comprehensive Plan. Video

10) Trees abutting construction sites are not protected, as this video of a failed appeal hearing of a building permit application shows, where a 30 unit subdivision was approved adjacent to, & upstream of Kubota Garden. Video

11) Restricting property owners to removal of 3 trees per year is comparable to alcoholism. Video

12) Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan asks for ”No net loss of canopy”, but should ask for an increase in net canopy cover as part of a permit. Video

13) The Seattle Green Factor is “ …not an effective means of tree protection” in the words of the Seattle Urban Forestry Commission. Video

Prepared by Michael Oxman
ISA Certified Arborist #PN-0756A