|"Friendly signage" warning pedestrians who|
controls Bear Reserve
|Some of 46 significant trees cut in Bear Reserve|
|46 Significant Trees being cut in IA's|
Bear Reserve. Signage posted now
warns "the public" to stay out of Bear
Right now, the Innis Arden Board is busy cutting a forested grove called Bear Reserve that generations have enjoyed as a community trail. Nearby residents and the City tried but failed last year to defend this grove of trees in an Environmentally Critical Area. The Innis Arden Board pursued a policy to cut these trees in order to benefit other residents "view corridor", and has aggressively pursued this "view policy" for decades.
|Much of Innis Arden is devoid of large trees, but|
a few remain. You can bet they are in some intrepid
home-owners yard who has stood firm to protect a
Many Innis Arden residents have been sued by the Innis Arden Board, and ordered to cut trees on their properties in order to please other residents. This policy enhances property values for the "view residents" but encumbers others with fines, liens, and destruction of their own landscaping.
Now, in an Orwellian twist, ironically, Shoreline City Council is considering a new ordinance to create a Tree Board. This is to allow Shoreline to become a "Tree City, USA". The current concept is to designate the Tree Board as a committee under the Parks Department and only consider the city's "public trees". This would mean all other trees would not be covered, and decisions about these public trees would be left to the Parks Department. THIS provision is being specifically inserted to benefit Innis Arden, in a blatantly political move which will satisfy a specific legal settlement.
So why is this a concern you ask?
It is a concern because nothing would be protecting the other trees other than some current codes (which are also up for change at the Planning Commission), and those under Parks control would be under new rules, where only trees on a specific list of street trees (which are only deciduous, that is trees which lose leaves, not "evergreens") would be "permitted" as street trees. So now all trees not on the list, including "conifers" could be easily cut down with a permit.
And this is what the Innis Arden Board has wanted all along. To be able to cut any tree that has the audacity to grow tall and is in the way of someone's million dollar view.
|Conifer within the Right of Way|
But what would be the impact of losing those conifers? It turns out that there are many, many conifers in the "right of way" or ROW now in Innis Arden and elsewhere in the City. Estimates based on city surveys indicate 40 - 50% of the Right of Way trees are likely conifers. Losing them could have a serious environmental impact to the community as a whole. All of those trees now provide huge benefits, not the least of which is stormwater attenuation, water quality and air quality.
The Innis Arden "Reserves" are open space areas, platted in the original design of Innis Arden to be trails and respite from the hub-bub of modern life. They are mostly in ravines with native growth, and often have steep slopes and "Critical Areas" with stream corridors. They have interesting names such as "Grouse" and "Heron" and "Bear" named after previous inhabitants. But they are not open to the public.
|Lower Bear Reserve with newer native growth and|
snags visible from previous cuts
Some members of Innis Arden have complained bitterly at Council meetings about concerns on stormwater impacting the downstream areas of Innis Arden and imploring the City Public Works to spend dollars on infrastructure upstream to stop the runoff. But, at the same time, the Board spends year after year pursuing tree cutting policies, even in their "Reserves" and filing lawsuits against citizens and the City to achieve its tree cutting goals.
It seems like a strange way to conduct business and a strange way to be a neighbor. And a strange way to ask the City to spend its resources.
Shoreline's trees are an incredibly valuable asset for all of its citizens providing "services" of at least $1.8 million. A moderate estimate would put replacement value for our trees at least at $180 million for the services they provide. Most people in Shoreline value them highly and would like to find reasonable ways to protect and enhance our urban forest infrastucture.
You can comment on this matter by contacting the Shoreline City Council before Jan 23rd.
It also makes one wonder what will be the outcome of this latest tree battle. Will Shoreline be forced to live by Innis Arden Board's rules or will Innis Arden be governed as a part of the City of Shoreline?