Pigeon Point Neighborhood Council: Trees and traffic

October 12, 2010 at 11:13 pm | In Environment, Pigeon Point, West Seattle news | 2 Comments

Before we get to the reports on tonight’s neighborhood-council meetings, one more from last night – the Pigeon Point Neighborhood Council. We have toplines from two of the major topics, trees and traffic – read on:

First, the traffic – coupled with parking. Now that school is in session again, those who live or drive by Pathfinder K-8 (where PPNC meets) are reminded just how many more students attend there than when the campus held Cooper Elementary (this is its second year as Pathfinder). A special event at the campus last month was accompanied by a huge parking crunch around the area, but when Pathfinder held its open house recently, things were OK. That, neighbors noted, was because of a couple of factors – including increased communication between neighbors and the school, but also, practical action, including opening the school’s back lot for overflow parking. Nonetheless, traffic and parking remain an ongoing concern, with a perception that school-bus use is not maximized, but instead many students arrive and depart in private vehicles. One suggestion that gained traction toward meeting’s end: Make a map to distribute to Pathfinder parents, showing some of the traffic bottlenecks, and also pointing out areas where parking can be a problem.

Now, the trees. PPNC heard from Brennon Staley of the city Department of Planning and Development regarding the proposed changes to the city’s tree regulations. The comment period for the proposals runs through the end of this month. The city’s proposals are summarized here, and viewable in detail by going here. One major part of the proposal would be to repeal “interim tree regulations” requiring permits for tree-cutting on private property; this FAQ document explains why the city thinks repealing that would lead to more tree preservation than keeping it. The general discussion at PPNC ran toward agreeing that the city should tread lightly with words like “regulation” and “permits,” and would likely get further through outreach and education. Once the comment period ends October 31st, it’ll be up to Mayor McGinn to propose changes that would start down the road to a formal vote next year.

Pigeon Point Neighborhood Council’s next meeting will be a holiday potluck; you can keep up with PPNC online at pigeonpoint.org.

2 Comments

  1. Two weeks ago The West Seattle Herald ran a guest article by an apparent tree vigilante, a West Seattle homeowner who crossed California Ave from his house to trespass, measure and finally confront the tree company removing a tree on a neighbor’s private property.
    The article was remarkable, but even more so was the response from a senior DPD official printed along with the activist’s article. DPD’s Alan Justad concedes the futility of DPD’s current regulations. Without being allowed onto private property without the property owner’s consent, they have no way of enforcement.
    And the current regulations in a practical sense encourage homeowners to not allow trees to grow large enough to loose control and plant smaller greens that they can legally control.
    DPD does however gain access and control when a property owner applies for a permit to remodel or for new construction. At that point the property owner will be subject to costly and prohibitive restrictions.
    Just like the California Ave activist with no big trees on his property, in Seattle I have come to experience that trees are far more sacrosanct when they are blocking your neighbor’s views than your own.
    Trees are a hot topic in Seattle and the incredible inclusion of what some consider to be the fascist influence of Plant Amnesty in Seattle regulations and lore will make outreach and education a challenge.

    Comment by nulu — 2:09 am October 13, 2010 #

  2. What this article neglects to mention is that DPD’s proposed tree regulation revision is a developer’s delight. It proposes to deregulate tree protection in Seattle.

    No longer would large trees or tree groves be rotected.Developers would be able under this proposal to cut down all their trees prior to developing a lot. Or they could withdraw their building permit application like The Seattle School District tried to do at Ingraham High School to try to stop further environmental review.

    DPD’s proposal is a major reversal of recent efforts to try to protect our urban forest infrastructure. Our urban forest reduces storm water runoff, cleans the air by removing toxic chemicals, provides habitat for birds and insects and other animals, sequesters carbon, and provides many other benefits that make the city liveable.

    People need to write to the Mayor and the City Council and DPD and tell them that the current proposal is unacceptable. Without protection we will continue to lose our trees and urban forest.

    Comment by Steve Zemke — 6:37 pm October 19, 2010 #

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