Shoreline Trees: Established trees and housing can co-exist

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Forest Villa

By Claudia Turner, Shoreline resident 
Tree Preservation Code Team

Established trees and housing can co-exist.

It is possible to build housing around existing trees and two examples are here in Shoreline.

Forest Villa is a 6-acre condominium complex at Linden Ave N and N 160th, built in the late ‘70s. It is surrounded by tall, mature trees. 

I appreciate that 40 years after it was built, the numerous trees preserved now create a beautiful homage to the Pacific Northwest. Today there are many Significant sized conifers, mostly Douglas fir and Western red cedar, in addition to a variety of maples and other deciduous trees. This is a lovely sight, especially if viewed from Linden Ave N.

Ballinger Commons is a larger, 30+ year apartment complex off N 205th and Meridian Ave N. Public trails weave through woods containing mature conifers. (Trail access is at Meridian Ave N and N 200th). 

Driving through this 77-acre complex, I noticed that some of the original grassy areas have filled in with a variety of conifer and deciduous trees. I heard many birds and watched a Cooper’s Hawk feed its young amongst the branches of a Douglas fir tree. As it is literally across from Lake Ballinger, there are also wetland areas. The number of trees in Ballinger Commons contributing to our urban canopy is quite impressive!

Before Shoreline was incorporated, housing development in the ’70s and ’80s reflected King County codes that allowed for apartments and mature trees to co-exist. Both Forest Villa and Ballinger Commons are excellent examples of what we now call “environmentally conscious planning”. Not only are these treed complexes pleasing but retained trees provide cooling shade and wildlife habitat, cleansing the air of carbon and preventing soil erosion.

The City of Shoreline’s tree protection codes should be revised to preserve our mature trees while fulfilling multi-family housing goals.


Unknown July 28, 2021 at 8:56 AM  

Hi Claudia. Thank you for the article! I'd love to communicate with you about your work. If you have time, please email me at Thanks!

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