Follow up to trees cut down near RB Saltwater Park

Friday, June 9, 2023

One lone tree left on 20th NE
Photo by Save Shoreline Trees

Representatives of Save Shoreline Trees met with Rachael Markle, Director of Planning, and Kevin Bagwell, Associate Planner, on June 8, 2023 regarding the trees which stood near the entrance of Richmond Beach Saltwater Park. (see previous article)
Per Shoreline Municipal Code (“code”) and confirmed by the City, the owner did have the right to cut down the two trees, as it was determined that they were on his private property.

However, due to inaccurate information and a mistaken removal, the owner has to pay for a tree removal permit ($239) and an additional $239 penalty. The owner must also plant three replacement trees for each tree removed -- six trees -- within 180 days.

Also per code, this owner, or a future buyer, cannot remove the third tree which is Tree #231, a Douglas fir 24.3” DBH, until there is another tree established on the property that is 6” DBH.

Per code, a property owner may cut down 3 trees per 7200 sf, and 1 tree each additional 7200 sf, every 36 months, no replacement trees required. Code also states that 24" DBH trees and larger do require a tree removal permit ($239/lot) and tree replacements as specified in the code.
Statement from Save Shoreline Trees:

The Richmond Beach community is disappointed. The Pacific madrone and Douglas fir cut down will be sorely missed by residents and visitors who admired their natural beauty and all the benefits they provided. 

The three trees were a community themselves, and now there is one solo tree remaining. They anchored the NW corner at 20th Ave NW and NW 190th St for a hundred years. Sometimes, there are reasons to not cut down trees even if code permits their removal.


Anonymous,  June 9, 2023 at 3:44 AM  

If they are on your property they're yours trees. While the community might enjoy them, the community does nothing for their care and maintenance nor the damage they might cause when they encroach on streets and housing.

Anonymous,  June 9, 2023 at 6:16 AM  

The trees are a shared resource and their fate is not solely in the hands of the landowner. Our physical and mental health as well as the health of countless species are tied to the trees. We no longer live in the 19th century and our future depends on conservation.

Anonymous,  June 9, 2023 at 6:40 AM  

What is mistaken removal? Interesting this is not specific. It sounds like there was a problem with the removal of these trees. And the property owner has to replace them. So, it was ok to cut the trees but it was a mistaken removal?

ANDREW SELL,  June 9, 2023 at 1:04 PM  

While you may own the trees on your property, it's essential to understand that there might be certain restrictions and regulations regarding tree maintenance, removal, or protection. City ordinance considerations may come into play, and there may be rules in place to safeguard the environment, ensure public safety, or preserve community aesthetics.

Anonymous,  June 9, 2023 at 2:26 PM  

They may well be "yours" if they are on "your" property, but we are all stewards of the greater whole. If we continue to pave over the earth maxing out building in every direction while cutting down every tree in our path, there will be no whole, and that includes "your" property. Sometimes we have to put the larger picture ahead of our own convenience. As someone who grew up in this neighborhood, it is painful to repeatedly witness the lack of foresight and greed in action and insult added to injury when the city does nothing meaningful.

Anonymous,  June 9, 2023 at 7:53 PM  

You must be the owner? I think if that was the issue the trees would have come down long ago...

Anonymous,  June 10, 2023 at 9:07 AM  

If the city is going to regulate trees on private property, then they should also require all property owners to endure the hardships of having to maintain large trees in close proximity to homes. A property owner having no trees is not required to plant trees on their property for the public good, but then wants to have control of the use of their neighbors property, potentially affecting his view and property values.

Anonymous,  June 10, 2023 at 10:03 PM  

Good idea. Let’s require barren yards to plant trees.

Anonymous,  June 11, 2023 at 7:37 PM  

Does the city get a refund from the arborist who made the error that they were right-of-way trees? Maybe there are similar problems throughout Shoreline? Who is the final arbiter? What if I don't have the deep pockets to challenge a city decision?

Jonelle Kemmerling,  June 20, 2023 at 5:07 PM  

The owner provided incorrect measurements.  The City is accepting the arborist’s tree measurements. Both trees were greater than 24” dbh. The City used their GIS property information map to decide that the trees were on private property.  Without a survey, there is uncertainty.

The City encourages property owners to follow certain requirements. A permit is needed for trees 24” dbh and larger. Permit cost is $239 per lot. Contact the City at 206-801-2500 for information.

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