Letter to the Editor: Shoreline's out of date tree codes are contributing to tree canopy decline

Thursday, October 21, 2021

To the Editor:

Shoreline is already behind in goals to reduce carbon emissions by 2030. While the city asks for individual citizens to do their part to combat climate issues, the city’s out-of-date tree codes are contributing to continued tree canopy decline and rising heat islands in our area.
Trees, especially mature trees, are a free, proven, and viable technology in reducing carbon emissions that work harder and smarter as they age and mature. Retaining these powerhouses of carbon sequestering needs to be an integral part of the conversation around apartment building expansion in Shoreline.
With more apartment homes being built in Shoreline, there will be more cars. This year the Seattle Times reported that Seattle ranks second in car ownership per capita at 610 cars owned per 1,000 residents with higher ownership in the surrounding neighborhoods. While there are rental households that are car-less, renter households that have one or more cars are increasing.
One car driving about 31 miles a day emits approximately 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. Shoreline will be adding (conservatively) 2,200 apartment units in the next couple of years. At one car per unit, the increase of CO2 produced from Shoreline rental apartment households will skyrocket to 10,120 metric tons per year.
Before COVID-19, Shoreline’s plans for carbon reduction relied on people using public transportation. However, ridership for King County metro has decreased by 71.5% from last year with more people working from home. 
To meet Shoreline’s climate goals, the city needs to leverage technology that is already viable, like trees. Updating tree codes to reflect the current climate we are in ensures everyone is able to continue to benefit from Shoreline’s mature trees while supporting city growth.

Rebecca Jones
Seattle (former Shoreline resident)


Michael Oxman October 21, 2021 at 11:01 AM  

The way to increase population thru 'infill development' is to require property line setbacks that force new construction into the center of the lot.
Typically, these clear spaces around houses and apartments will combine with the neighboring lot's setbacks to create generous root habitat for growing large trees.
Please consider passing new tree protection legislation that prevents new foundations from being poured where trees current grace our lives.
Save Shoreline Trees.

Anonymous,  October 21, 2021 at 5:59 PM  

So what's the suggested update to the tree code? This story is mostly about there being too many cars.

Anonymous,  October 21, 2021 at 8:03 PM  

If it hasn't hit your neighborhood yet (Richmond Beach, Sheridan Heights) please remember our trees are your trees. Take a short stroll from NE 174th to 165th on 8th NE - a single family lot now has 7 homes and no large conifers. A couple lots to the south a similar development. Just north of 165th two homes and a sweet urban forest have been decimated to build 17 (or so) homes. I agree we need to provide housing - we need to figure out how to do it - but if you're not willing to think about it quit b******* about deforestation in the Amazon.

Anonymous,  October 22, 2021 at 11:17 AM  

I would not be surprised if cutting trees uphill from 25th Ave NE destabilized the soils and caused the telephone poles to fall yesterday. thinking especially of the development on 177th St NE. Oso repeating in our backyard?

Anonymous,  October 22, 2021 at 1:14 PM  

Sounds like people and development are more the problem than codes, but any form of government wants growth/progress since that equals more taxes.

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