|Old Madrones Frame and ARE the "View" |
Above Richmond Beach Saltwater Park
They voted for some amendments in the Development Code crafted by the Shoreline Planning Commission.
It is a significant victory for Shoreline's trees.
The major changes will be to require a permit for cutting a tree 30" in diameter or larger, AND for a
provision which will be the cornerstone of a new policy. That is, no longer will any property owner be able to cut 6 trees in 3 years. Only those with lots of 1 acre in size. Smaller lots will be allowed to cut significant trees in smaller increments.
There were over a dozen speakers and most spoke in favor of the Planning Commission amendments. Over 30 members of the public had sent comments to the council in favor of those amendments as well.
These new amendments to the Development Code cap a 10 year struggle to put in place protections for Shoreline's tree canopy. The Shoreline Preservation Society and others, including Thornton Creek Alliance, Interurban Trail Tree Preservation Society, and members of Sustainable Shoreline, and people from all over Shoreline advocated to better protect trees.
Councilmember Will Hall made the motion to move the Planning Commission amendments forward. There were some attempts to amend and some of the provisions were altered or removed, such as one that would have prevented pre-emptive cutting of trees for possible development before any proposal was submitted. According to one councilmember, this happened probably because the item was confusing.
But the heart of the ordinance, the provision to reduce the number of trees cut and protect 30" trees stands!
|Southwoods Park, saved by the|
passage of the 2006 Parks Bond
Parks Bond measure and therefore it is clear that Shoreline residents want to protect trees.
Boni Biery, who is a Sustainable Shoreline boardmember testified about how many trees have been lost over the years surrounding her home.
There were implied threats made by some view neighborhoods that legal action could follow, and that remains to be seen. But, other legal experts have asserted that under the Growth Management Act, cities and city councils are clearly permitted to take these actions. In related case law:
Upon review of a city’s planning decision, the Board “shall find compliance unless it determines that a [city] action is clearly erroneous in view of the entire record before the board and in light of the goals and requirements of the GMA.” To find an action “clearly erroneous,” the Board must have a “firm and definite conviction that a mistake has been committed.”
So for now, Shoreline's trees have a shot at survival. Trees are a triumph of hope over fear for Shoreline.