Op-Ed: Trees make Shoreline liveable

Friday, June 22, 2018

Bothell - trees share space with developments
By Christine Southwick

I attended the June 21st Planning Commission meeting at City Hall. The topic was the “Tree Retention in MUR-70” Development Code Amendment-Public Hearing.

The majority of members on the commission had already made up their minds.

As soon as the public finished speaking, the motion was made and seconded to pass “Option 1” which exempts contractors building in MUR-70’ (read seven story building) from Shoreline’s Tree Code with incentives for Tree Retention and Replacement.

Basically this means that a contracting company doesn’t have to keep any trees (no matter how big, tall, healthy and important to the area) but, if they save as few as 10% of the significant trees then the developer can increase the base height of their building by ten feet!

If 20% of significant trees are kept, then the required parking allotment can be reduced by 25%, and the building can be built within five feet of the front yard setback. Talk about paving paradise and putting in a parking lot (No wait, putting in concrete only — a parking lot would give us somewhere to park)!

And if that wasn’t enough, a sub-motion was added to also include MUR-45’ to be exempt from the Tree Code!!! All in the name of “incentives that would provide greater development potential…”

This sub-motion didn’t get voted on, but it shows the need for public input, and the need for citizens to come to meetings to show we care about our environment. We need to know in a timely manner what is being moved through the system, and if necessary voice our dissent before it becomes law.

We are adjacent to Seattle - developers don’t need “tree give-away incentives”. There is plenty of profit to be made by developers, especially given the ease of access to the development areas (200 acres in Shoreline are zoned as MUR-70’)

Now is the opportunity for Shoreline to create more green spaces and public open spaces instead of less! We need incentives to keep more large trees, especially evergreens which help with our winter storm waters.

Bothell was able to do so (see the picture), without making their citizens wait 20 years for 1.5” diameter deciduous trees to grow into something worth noticing.

Shoreline needs to step up to the challenge of protecting our wooded environment, one of Shoreline’s attributes.

Shoreline’s Parks Department has estimated that it will need nine more acres of parks just to support the projected population increase. To get nine more acres will take some creative thinking.

Where would Seattle be without the Olmstead Parks? (37 parks that include Seward, Volunteer, Woodland Park and Arboretum, plus Magnolia and Ravenna Boulevards)

Next steps:

1) Write to the City council. Tell them that trees make Shoreline livable!

2) Read City of Shoreline info - be an informed citizen and voter. Make a difference. This is where you live, and probably where your children will grow up.

3) Show up at meetings so that the City Council, Planning Commission, and Parks/Tree Board, know that you care, and are watching. These members live here too, and need to know that when developers pressure them, that the citizens of Shoreline will stand by healthy environmental decisions, for the livability of Shoreline.


Anonymous,  June 22, 2018 at 11:32 PM  

Now that the Light Rail parking garage is moving adjacent to the station and the entire footprint will be on the east side of I-5, they really need to look at upzoning the motorcycle hill area. They're probably going to need a new road through that area anyways with all of the Bothell, Kenmore, Lake Forest Park traffic coming through there. Ammend that!

Anonymous,  June 23, 2018 at 9:35 AM  

Thank you Shoreline Area News for posting this article and thank you Christine for reporting. This article has been shared on Ridgecrest Neighborhood Facebook page and Nextdoor Ridgecrest - including all neighborhoods that surround it. Patty Hale

Unknown June 23, 2018 at 9:42 AM  

Thank you very much Christine for your care, write up and informing the citizens of how best to participate!

Cynthia Knox,  June 23, 2018 at 11:03 AM  

I also attended that meeting. The planning commission was comprised of 6 people, 4 of which I could identify as architects and a realtor. These are people who will likely benefit from developers doing business in our community. Where is the balance on these planning commissions? Where was the arborist perspective? Where was the environmentalist perspective? In terms of what happened after public comment, it appeared that two of the commission members were possibly impacted by resident's objections to the proposals and interested in further study and discussion, however, the other 4 commission members were determined to push the developer-friendly option through. This was not an example of partnership between residents and city government - it was an agenda pushed through by developers.

Margaret Hartley June 24, 2018 at 1:07 PM  

We are already living with effects of tree removal in North City. We lost a corner of shady trees due to the construction of an apartment building. It is possible to provide more housing AND preserve the trees that make Shoreline so special.

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