This is a fairly long story involving city crews planting trees and a Seaview resident who says she had no idea one was headed her way until it turned up in her parking strip – here’s her story, plus the city response:
Here’s the entirety of what Deana sent us, for starters:
On April 1st 2008 my husband and I came home and quickly noticed that someone had planted a very large tree on our parking strip without our knowledge. Who could of done this, we thought. We checked our mailbox, the door and the tree itself for any information about how and why this tree was planted with out our permission. There was no trace of who planted this tree or why. Was this some kind of bad April Fools joke?
The next morning about a half a block away we found a small white flag stating that it was the dept of transportation that was at the root of this and a phone number we could call 206-684-TREE (8733).
Further research found the following website and email address of those at fault.
I e-mailed the following:
A tree was planted on my parking strip on April 1st 2008 WITHOUT my permission. I would like the tree removed immediately and the grass replanted. I refuse to care for the tree and do not appreciate it being planted without my knowledge. Please call me as soon as possible and please let me know how soon this will be taken care of.
Thanks in advance.
Here is the response I received:
(start of e-mail) Hi Deana,
The planting strip in front of your home is a right of way easement that the city has the right to use. We are within our full rights to plant the trees. But we are not just going in and planting trees without the neighborhood’s involvement. We put a door hanger on your door a month and a half ago asking for your involvement with the planting. There where 3 tree choices for people to chose if they had a preference. People also called up with their choice of not wanting any trees. Those people who failed to respond at all got a tree type chosen by our department. I apologize if the door hanger did not make it into your possession.
These trees that we are planting are going to be SDOT Urban Forestry maintained trees. We are going to be watering them during their establishment period and pruning them when they need it. If these trees happen to do damage to the sidewalks, with their roots, sometime in the future, our crews will be taking care of the sidewalk. You will not be required to maintain these trees.
We will come and remove the tree and replace the sod if that is what you wish to see happen. Please let me know that this is indeed your final decision and we will try and get this taken care of in the next day or two.
Timothy Griffith Jr.
Seattle Department of Transportation
Urban Forestry (end of city e-mail)
(Deana writes) I responded with the following:
Thank you for your quick response.
* I do not want to responsible for the future care and maintenance of any trees on our parking strip.
* I would like you to remove tree as soon as possible and the sod to be replaced.
* I would also like to remove our address from any future tree planting lists.
* Get the homeowners permission BEFORE planting anything rather than
requiring the homeowner to contact you if they are NOT interested.
* Place some contact information AFTER the tree is planted. I had no idea
who was responsible for planting this tree. It required some detective work
to figure it out.
We e-mailed Rick Sheridan at SDOT to ask how many homes might be getting trees as a default because they didn’t respond. He says he doesn’t have the number, but does have these numbers: “Urban Forestry will plant 800 trees this year as part of Bridging the Gap. A
portion of those trees will be for West Seattle. This work is the continuation of the last year’s work where SDOT planted 681 trees.”
And he reaffirms what Deana was told: “Our process for tree plantings is to emplace small flags that highlight where the trees will be and put door hangers on adjacent properties to solicit constituent input on tree selection. SDOT plants the trees in the planting strip, which is public property held in common trust. If we don’t hear from an adjacent property, we move forward by selecting a tree that will be appropriate for that public space.