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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Trees Are Fundamental to Shoreline's Character

Trees are front and center again in Shoreline. 

"To Tree or not to Tree, that is the question!" 
(apologies to William Shakespear!)

Trees that are now gone
 from Bear Reserve, part of Innis Arden
7/11 - ph credit Janet Way

At Monday's City Council meeting the Trees and Tree Board topic will be on the agenda. Council will take up Ordinances #617 and #627 which address respectively:  creating a Tree Board and Tree Cutting Permits for the Right of Way. 

The agenda link is here. Councilmeetings begin at 7pm, and public comment on this item will be at the beginning, but the discussion and potential vote will begin after about 7:45pm. You can contact the Council directly at:
or City Manager's office: 801-2213

Citizens who care about protecting our trees have been contacting the Council for years about these concerns and recently have taken other actions.

The Shoreline Preservation Society, a local non-profit organization is raising many concerns about these proposals and the potential impacts to our environment, health and character of the community. 
SPS (Shoreline Preservation Society) is now sponsoring an online petition, through The Petition Site/Care2, asking the community to support the protection of our trees through and independent, stand-alone tree board, not just creating a board ordinance that facilitates cutting more trees and benefits one neighborhood's "views".  

The petition has garnered over 230 signatures in just 5 days. You're invited to sign at:

In Shoreline, tree preservation has been a continuing controversy for many years, and is fundamental to the community's image, quality of life and central to the political identity of different neighborhoods and factions.
Some magnificent London Plane Trees grace
Meridian Ave N, and provide shade and a beautiful
"tunnel of green"
ph credit, Janet Way

Some of the major concerns about these ordinances are:
• Need for SEPA Review to assess the actual environmental impacts of this ordinance 
• Tree Board needs to be an "independent, stand-alone" body, not just the Parks Board 
• Accompanying "Street Tree List" to the ordinance does not contain conifers, native trees or most of the existing street trees, when our current streetsides now are made up of over 40% conifers. 
• Permit process is designed to benefit one neighborhood, Innis Arden to facilitate cutting for views
Major Concern:
So, if all the trees that are now in the "Right-of-Way" (existing Street Trees) are not on the "approved list" in the proposed ordinance, they are all vulnerable to cutting, with just a simple permit.

Many of us are still asking are we Shoreline, Innis Arden or Shorelinnisarden? 

Thousands of beautiful trees are at stake in Shoreline and the Council has a responsibility to consider the legacy we leave for the future in our City.
Conifer in Right of Way in Innis Arden

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