Shoreline City Council Meeting June 18, 2012

Friday, June 22, 2012

Notes from Shoreline City Council Meeting June 18, 2012
By Devon Vose Rickabaugh

The City Council passed a tree ordinance after discussion and amendments had been voted on. Four council members voted for it: Hall, Eggen, Salomon, and Roberts. Mayor McGlashan and council members McConnell and Winstead voted against. The mayor said that tying the number of trees a property owner could cut to the lot size could “pit neighbor against neighbor”. Owners of large properties of 21,781 square feet and above could cut up to 6 trees while owners of the smallest properties up to 7,200 square feet would be allowed 3 trees without a clearing and grading permit. The ordinance states “The removal of any tree greater than 30’’ in diameter or exceeding the numbers of trees (specified per lot size) shall require a clearing and grading permit”.

In a letter to the city council the Innis Arden Club through their attorney said the code amendments are “ill conceived and they would add new complexity to the burdens confronted by homeowners in the management of their landscaping. They would place new demands on City Staff in the administration of the tree regulations. In doing so, their overall effect on the urban tree canopy and on the environment in which Shoreline citizens make their homes would not be demonstrably beneficial and could well be harmful.”

Elaine Phelps from Innis Arden said that Innis Arden ”used to be a really nice community, but since the tree issue has developed there are horrible confrontations whether to keep the trees or keep the views. Innis Arden is only 2% of the population of Shoreline, but they are one of the most costly to the city in terms of services and special considerations. Innis Arden should not be able to impose their own rules on the city.”

Council member McConnell said that “tree canopies should not be mandated but rather incentivized. How to preserve property rights while doing the right thing” for the city’s tree canopy?

Council member Hall said that two studies had shown no changes in tree canopy between 1996 and 2006 in Shoreline. “Just because it isn’t a crisis today we don’t want to wait until it’s too late to save big trees. All over King County cities are rapidly losing tree canopy.” He said he supported the tighter restrictions over tree removal in this ordinance.


Frank Kleyn,  June 23, 2012 at 6:04 AM  

Thank you City Council. I have four beautiful cedars in my small yard and it's a comfort to know that future owners of my house will think twice before killing them.

I feel fortunate to live in a part of Richmond Beach that is still wooded. We've had eagles, osprey, herons, douglas squirrels, etc all frequent our property due to the trees. My children have a great respect for nature and our neighborhood.

Kudos to our forward thinking City Council and all who worked to make this new ordinance a reality.

Anonymous,  June 23, 2012 at 7:22 AM  

Thank you, City Council! We live a few blocks from Boeing Creek in the Richmond Highlands neighborhood & have 4 large conifers in our yard--& a snag created from a diseased fir. There are thoughtful, creative ways to promote habitat & protect ourselves from possibly dangerous trees--thinning, creating snags. Tree removal isn't always necessary. This ordinance will help preserve Shoreline's wooded beauty.

Anonymous,  June 23, 2012 at 8:31 AM  

Folks with views should work to make sure the city loses tax money based on lower property valuations if views are lost.
This is government over-stepping for sure. My goodness.

Anonymous,  June 23, 2012 at 9:44 AM  

Folks without views appreciate their trees. Their trees add tax money based on higher property valuations. This is government preserving our natural resources, preserving our salmon, preserving our clean air, and keeping our citizens connected to our natural world. Read Timothy Egan's piece on "Nature Deficit Disorder" and you'll be glad that our city believes in preserving what's left of our natural world.

Anonymous,  June 23, 2012 at 10:04 AM  


by: Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918)

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

Anonymous,  June 23, 2012 at 11:29 AM  

And the rats, and the wolves--and the smallpox, my God the smallpox! Who will save the smallpox. The issue with tree removal in urban areas is not the lack of trees or the resultant nick of the earth's canopy. Rather it is one neigbor attempting to exploit the property rights of another, and soliciting the coercive force of the government to do. If you love the trees, buy the property! That you admire your neighbor's trees is the weakest argument possible for holding a gun to his head.

Anonymous,  June 24, 2012 at 3:29 PM  

No one is holding a gun to anyone's head - talk about threatening behavior! This agrees with the whole principle of "if you like your neighbor's trees, buy the property" by making the number of trees allowed to be removed proportional to the size of the property. So, if you don't like your neighbor's trees buy the property -

Too bad that three council members are still unwilling to support the majority of community who have repeated said they want the canopy protected.

SamWaun June 27, 2012 at 8:45 PM  

This is some thing I need to do more research into, many thanks for the publish.

Tree Work June 27, 2012 at 8:47 PM  

This is some thing I need to do more research into, many thanks for the publish.

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