TREES: What’s the city doing to protect them?

(Reader photo, recent tree work near Alki Point)

Much of the city’s remaining forested areas are here in West Seattle, so it’s no surprise that many people on the peninsula feel fiercely protective of trees. We often get email from readers concerned about development projects that take out trees; most of the time, our subsequent research reveals the removal was allowed. So, what if anything is the city doing to try to keep the Emerald City from turning something closer to topaz? A couple of hints came during the most-recent meeting of the City Council’s Land Use and Neighborhoods Committee, 39 and a half minutes in:

The committee got its “quarterly tree report” – mandated since fall 2019 – from reps of the city Department of Construction and Inspections and Office of Sustainability and the Environment. See the summary here. This didn’t includes basics such as “X trees cut,” however – they’re still working on compiling that kind of data. But they discussed both progress toward the city’s revised Urban Forest Management Plan – three years in the making – and what’s being done under existing rules.

Sandra Pinto Urrutia from OSE talked about the former, explaining that they’ve continued to collect public input about what the new plan should cover; prevailing themes so far, she said, included requests to focus city resources on tree care and to examine economic effects of tree loss. A draft of the updated plan should be ready for council review later this spring.

Chanda Emery of SDCI said the department has been enforcing violations, even fining one developer $99,000 in a “triple penalty” for illegally removing an exceptional tree. She elaborated that despite extensive back-and-forth with SDCI, the tree eventually was cut to make way for a two-car garage. Councilmember Alex Pedersen interjected that this wasn’t a situation city reps discovered, but rather something that community members had uncovered.

One point of progress mentioned by Emery: A draft “director’s rule” requiring tree services operating within the Seattle city limits to acknowledge that they have read and are aware of city rules. She also said the city plans a federally funded survey using LIDAR data to determine how the city’s tree canopy has changed, starting within a few weeks. Councilmembers were told that past canopy assessments weren’t of much comparative use because the technologies kept changing, but this time “we have everything we need in place.”

For more on what the city is and isn’t doing about trees, you can go here.

53 Replies to "TREES: What's the city doing to protect them?"

  • wsgtiguy March 30, 2021 (10:04 pm)

    Exhibit F as to why housing in Seattle remains prohibitively expensive. We need a common-sense approach like Kirkland has.

  • Carr Vanessa March 30, 2021 (10:08 pm)

    It’s heart breaking to see such huge trees killed. 

  • StopCuttingDownTrees March 30, 2021 (10:43 pm)

    It baffles me when people move here to leafy, wooded Arbor Heights and cut down healthy, mature, majestic trees just weeks after moving in. If this continues Seattle’s neighborhoods will look like Phoenix’s.

    • J March 31, 2021 (7:02 pm)

      Have you considered that maybe they knew something about their tree that you didn’t? Perhaps their inspection turned up something. Maybe the tree was rotting, maybe the roots were damaging the home’s foundation or obstructing sewer or water lines. Could be anything that wouldn’t be obvious to neighbors.

      • StopCuttingDownTrees April 1, 2021 (1:53 am)

        In every case, we ask the neighbors why they’re cutting them down. Never once has it been due to an unhealthy tree. The excuses have been: “we wanted more light”, “the sap gets on my car”, “trees have evil spirits” (not kidding), “criminals may hide behind them”, and, my favorite, “It’s blocking our view” (our street is the lowest point in every direction).

  • Rick March 30, 2021 (11:22 pm)

    Well, you know. “It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to get permission”. Or something like that.

  • Marcus March 31, 2021 (6:15 am)

    Love trees, grew up in Seattle.  Some trees are needing to be removed or trimmed and most just need to be left alone.  Some trees grow to block wonderful views and should be trimmed or follow a replanting program.  Trees clean the air.  Need more planting programs in Seattle.

  • NW March 31, 2021 (6:37 am)


  • CarDriver March 31, 2021 (6:49 am)

    To Rick’s point. Neighbor of mom on Genesee Hill cut down a LOT of trees for view. Neighbor of him complained and the city came out and fined them $5,600. They paid the fine, kept their view and probably increased the value more than the fine.

  • CarDriver March 31, 2021 (6:57 am)

    Question. Doesn’t the city base property taxes on view? If you have a view of the city, or water you pay more in taxes?? If so, easy fix is to charge someone with only a view of trees the same rate. Would be less incentive to cut down trees.

    • WSB March 31, 2021 (10:05 am)

      The county does assessments, not the city. If you look at how properties are described in Parcel Viewer, view is one of many attributes listed but I don’t believe it’s heavily weighted – for example, unless you’re on a steep hillside or the waterfront, “your” view is likely blockable by whomever you’re “behind” (or by trees), so its value could be lost at any time.

  • PatWS March 31, 2021 (7:32 am)

    I hate hate hate seeing grand old trees cut down for a developer’s or owner’s convenience.

    But I have to note that “to keep the Emerald City from turning something closer to topaz” is a marvelous bit of writing!

  • Michael Waldo March 31, 2021 (7:34 am)

    We had to cut down a tree in our backyard and we planted two trees in its place.Some trees just get to big for their location. But if the city encourages tree planting, perhaps it all evens out.

  • anonyme March 31, 2021 (7:35 am)

    There are a million ways around the highly inadequate rules, and that’s just for contractors or arborists who actually know or follow them.  It’s extremely easy to find unlicensed landscapers who will do anything for a buck, rules be damned.  The “economic impact” of cutting such trees is a silly consideration, as they are literally keeping us alive.   Cutting down a majestic old tree to make room for a two-car garage is nothing short of criminal; clearly, even a $99,000 fine is not enough to deter this behavior.

  • JohnW March 31, 2021 (7:51 am)

    What is not being aired is the privileged few who are allowed to top trees on Seattle Parks property even though topping is banned by all codes.  
    Seattle Parks should be exposed for this practice that it quietly allows.  
    Parks is loath to discuss the tree topping on Seattle Park properties, requiring a public records request and long waits for any information.  
    The two great West Seattle examples are on Bonair Drive above Alki and above Mee Kwa Mooks Park.
    I was so outraged, I followed up with calls and formal complaints.

    After attending multiple meetings of the OSE committee, it is clear they are avoiding the true Elephant in the Room by focusing on private property owners who actually have better trees and maintain them better than the City.  
    Seattle’s urban forests are sick from a tremendous backlog of maintenance: invasives, lack of diversity of trees (not many fir, too many maples) and dangerous hazard trees.
    The OSE does not act on the data available, is packed with insider arborists in cahoots with a couple of tree activists.  
    The published data (also with LIDAR) show no significant difference in residential tree canopy.  
    The public support for the OSE is largely a serially copied form letter. 

    As a tree lover and owner of multiple exceptional trees, I am appalled by  direction of the OSE. 

  • Azimuth March 31, 2021 (7:57 am)

    As far as I can tell, the incentive for new construction and development is to maximize land usage as code allows to maximize return on investment. Trees generally get in the way.

    • JohnW March 31, 2021 (11:11 am)

      Azimuth you are correct, but other factors come into play.  
      Designing a house around an existing tree may involve compromising the long term viability and environmental footprint.  
      Particularly affected over the long term are solar power and heating costs.  Additionally are the challenges for flat roofs and roof decks as well as gutter cleaning and pitch removal from windows.  
      Thee are no guarantees that the trees that one builds a house around will remain healthy and viable for the decades to come, or the future homeowners will maintain it. 

  • Joe Z March 31, 2021 (8:36 am)

    Trees in the PNW grow quickly, it’s not a big deal to cut them down as long as you replant nearby. A tree can’t be a permanent excuse not to develop a location. The common sense protections that already exist are fine. 

    • anonyme March 31, 2021 (9:48 am)

      Joe Z, as a retired arborist I can tell you that your comment is completely and utterly inaccurate.  “Trees in the PNW” covers an entire range of species, from those that grow inches per year to those that grow up to 3 ft. in the same time period.  There is no common denominator that justifies the suggestion that they “grow quickly”.   Nor does “replanting nearby” accomplish anything, especially in terms of carbon sequestration – at least not for many years,  until the new tree equals or surpasses the size of the one that was cut.   And the “common sense” protections you mention are not only rarely applied, but filled with loopholes.

    • Auntie March 31, 2021 (10:19 am)

      You must be a developer. I’m not sure what part of 80-year old trees “grow quickly.” And the current common sense protections don’t seem to work – people tend to do what they want and worry about the consequences later. And how many developers that cut down trees actually plant more nearby? I don’t see that happening with the developments in our neighborhood. Just more housing boxes, no trees.

      • JohnW March 31, 2021 (10:53 am)

        Auntie, I am one of those ‘greedy developers’ who innocently bought vacant lots in West Seattle with the intent of building quality in-fill housing.  
        I can assure you, I was required to have a “qualified professional” plan and submit a formal restoration plan to DCI.  
        I was required to replace more trees than I removed.  
        The trees removed were defined, notated, measured and shown on the site plot plan.  None were “Exceptional Trees,” mostly a dieing multi-trunked wild cherry and big leaf maple.  
        I purchased and laboriously planted more than a dozen new trees.  
        I sold the house several years ago.  

        The last time I drove past, all but two of the trees had been removed or left unattended and unwatered, dried and died.

        • anonyme March 31, 2021 (4:28 pm)

          I am all too familiar with developer-planted trees (including their contractors).  First of all, the clearcutting, bulldozing, and compaction that is typical of most construction guarantees that very little will be able to grow on that lot for decades to come – especially not trees.  They add back a token amount of topsoil or compost when they’re done (I’ve rarely seen this above six inches).  And yes, part of the problem is that there is little follow-up care or watering for the trees once planted.  But the trees planted by most developers are often very poor quality to begin with, purchased at bargain prices because they are already failing. Place them in the terrible soil left after construction, and they never have a chance. All the more reason to preserve existing trees, even at great cost.  Developers need to adjust their methods, which traditionally are extremely devastating to the environment.  Many are putting a “green” spin on their marketing, which is exactly that – spin.

          • JohnW March 31, 2021 (6:37 pm)

            Virtually all of our neglected urban forests contradict ANONYME’s apparent expertise as a retired arborist in their statement regarding trees planted that don’t survive because of the inadequate soil  is laughable. by all of the volunteer junk trees thriving.  
            Contractor buying cheap plants assumes that an arborist was not involved.  

            I can appreciate that increased availability and popularity of DYO  might have led to changes a once lucrative career.
            Codes now require protection for areas outside of the permitted area.  

            The type of scraping of lots that was traditional in Seattle a hundred years ago is no longer allowed.  

            You, me and anonyme all enjoy living in homes that 99 yer old trees were cut (unsustainably) to build our homes.

          • anonyme April 1, 2021 (7:41 am)

            John, there is no comparison between urban forests and lots with new construction.  Many pioneer species will grow on poor soil; the same cannot be said for ground removed of topsoil and then compacted by heavy equipment, and there is no correlation between the two.  Your assertion that lots have not been bulldozed and leveled for the last hundred years is just silly.  For most of the new build projects I worked to remediate (five years ago – not a hundred) it was landscape designers, not arborists, who chose the trees, and then only on paper.  (One, in particular, was a million-dollar “green” home.) But one need only look at the poor street tree selection/placement on 35th in Arbor Heights to see that arborists can make poor choices, too.   The fact that these trees occasionally live, at least for a few years, does not justify the removal of old trees.

      • Joe Z March 31, 2021 (3:51 pm)

        I have planted over 50 trees at my own expense in the city-owned greenspace behind my West Seattle property, mostly Douglas Firs and other native conifers. Prior to my restoration efforts the space was overrun with invasive species. Seattle could add tens of thousands of trees by cleaning up its neglected green spaces and unimproved ROW.

        The idea that urban trees are a solution to climate change is complete nonsense. For every tree that we ‘save’ in Seattle it leads to 10 more being cut down in the suburbs + thousands of tons of CO2 being emitted as people are forced to commute to Seattle rather than live in the city. The only trees that sequester CO2 are those in commercial logging operations. Otherwise the carbon ends up back in the atmosphere when the tree dies or there is a forest fire. Don’t use trees as an excuse for NIMBYism. 

        • KM March 31, 2021 (6:23 pm)

          Spot on. Now, if we only legalized more housing…

        • StopCuttingDownTrees April 1, 2021 (8:44 pm)

          West Seattle, Magnolia, Laurelhurst, Sand Point, Lake City, Ravenna, etc, are all suburbs that were annexed into Seattle. They’re only “city” neighborhoods because of their zip codes. The edge-city of Bellevue has done a FAR better job of preserving mature urban trees in their downtown core, industrial parks, and retail areas than Seattle. It’s been proven in study after study that urban trees are vital to mental health and reducing urban heat domes, both of which can be disastrous if neglected.

        • JohnW April 2, 2021 (8:58 am)

          Your assertion that lots have not been bulldozed and leveled for the last hundred years is just silly.” 
          Yes Anonyme,
          I agree that is a silly assertion.  

          But I did not make it.  

          Please read post?

  • C. Boffoli March 31, 2021 (8:45 am)

    So, what if anything is the city doing to try to keep the Emerald City from turning something closer to topaz?”.Nicely done TR.

  • DD March 31, 2021 (9:19 am)

    I totally agree with JohnW… has been heartbreaking to see the topping of trees along Bonair and other, formerly, forested sections of West Seattle.  Questions and reports to the city are not responded to.  The topping has clearly been done to augment the view of individual properties, and without regard to the health and viability of the trees, nor soil stabilization in vulnerable areas.  Much of this has occurred on public property and in dedicated green space.    Monitoring these precious strips of land can be done, even during a pandemic, as most activities are outdoors.  Some of the topping went on for over a week, and there was no sign of any intervention to prevent it or terminate it, or fine those who treat our shared environment as theirs alone.  

    • WSB March 31, 2021 (9:57 am)

      We have inquired about several of these cases when brought to our attention. Invariably it’s either city work or there’s a pre-existing easement – I re-checked correspondence from multiple readers last year regarding the 1900 block of Bonair, including one who received a response from the city explaining that there’s an easement. But keep reporting when you suspect otherwise because then of course there are the actual law-breaking cases such as the parcels in east Admiral several years ago…

      • JohnW March 31, 2021 (12:09 pm)

        I am one that appreciates the Parks Dept response to allowing City Greenspacee tree topping.  
        Yes, although these activities are banned and heavily fined if prosecuted by all city codes, the few wealthy people with expensive attorneys are being allowed to break the law.  
        The stock succinct response is “they have an easement.”  
        So, what I ask?  
        Hundreds of old codes and easements have been changed and disallowed (an existing water line easement is no longer  accepted, so why should anachronistic  barbaric tree trimming covenant be the exception?).
        I continue to raise this issue because it is just plain wrong and unfair.  
        The homeowners enforcing and benefiting from these agreements should be ‘daylighted’ and exposed for their practices.  
        If their identities become known, they may join the ret of us who respect trees and follow the laws.

  • Howdy March 31, 2021 (9:36 am)

    How do you know if a tree is exceptional?  Does the city maintain a list somewhere?  A neighbor (who has amazing huge trees in his yard) has expressed thoughts that he wants to build an ADU in his backyard. Which would cause those beautiful trees to be taken down. Is there a way to see if the trees are exceptional before he hires someone to cut them down? 

    • Auntie March 31, 2021 (10:27 am)

      I do know you need a permit to take down any trees, even on your own property. When we were considering taking down some scrub maples in our back yard, the arborist told us we need to apply for a permit from the city. I think most people just take the trees down and hope nobody notices.

    • JohnW March 31, 2021 (10:35 am)

      @Howdy,The first step in obtaining a permit to build a DADU is a submittal of a plot plan showing current conditions of the property including structures and trees.  The tree(s) require measurement on site to determine if they qualify as “Exceptional Trees.”  Homeowners (but not vacant property owners) are allowed to cut some of the trees in their yards each year.  It is highly unlikely that the City would allow all three of the suspected Exceptional Trees to be removed for a DADU.  That said, backyard tree removal is the least of Seattle’s tree problems. The same goes for development.  The data show both of those statements true.  Further, homeowners and property owners have better quality trees than our poorly maintained monoculture greenways.  Property owners maintain a more diverse, sustainable and environmentally superior trees (fir trees are best-year-round).  

    • JohnW March 31, 2021 (11:54 am)

      A few facts:Backyard tree removal is the least of Seattle’s tree problems. The same goes for trees replaced for development.  The data show both of those statements true.  Further, homeowners and property owners have better quality trees than our poorly maintained monoculture greenways.  Property owners maintain a more diverse, sustainable and environmentally superior trees (fir trees are best-year-round).

  • JohnW March 31, 2021 (11:00 am)

    Auntie needs to read the actual codes.  
    We are allowed to remove some trees in our developed property.  
    Permits are required for some but not most of tree work on developed property.  
    There are a whole set of specific rules for trees on steep slopes and what are called ECAs (Environmentally Critical Areas). 

    • Auntie March 31, 2021 (7:36 pm)

      I guess that is why we had to get a permit – there is a hillside behind our house. The arborist didn’t say that was why, so I just assumed everyone needed a permit to cut any tree.  The only trees we took down were some scrub maples that were rotting at the base and in danger of landing on our house. No way would I ever take down a healthy tree.

  • AR March 31, 2021 (11:51 am)

    Currently there are properties that are still undeveloped and forested.  They have mature trees on them.  They are located along the bluff beach drive.  The forest are home to many animals.  Eagles, small birds, owls…….  These properties are just east of the houses that are on the east side of Beach Drive.  Some of the properties have just sold.  I would imagine the trees are going to be cut down and houses built.  The animals will never return.  This area would actually make nice park land – similar to Mee Kwa Mooks Park.  The property exist between Atlas Place and Jacobson.  I am guessing you could have a trail going the entire distance if it were established as a Park.

    • JohnW March 31, 2021 (1:06 pm)

      There currently is a trail, and actually multiple casual trails, a network throughout the wooded hillside area above Alki.  
      This area does exist as a Seattle Parks managed and City owned Greenspace.  
      It is also where Seattle is allowing homeowners to top the City’s trees.  
      The trails go right by the destroyed groves.  
      There are little if any undeveloped land along the bluff.  
      Trail access is quite popular with off leash dog people from mid-Bonair Drive where the trees are topped.

  • d March 31, 2021 (12:55 pm)

    Not surprising as Seattle doesn’t even protect it’s own citizens from greedy developers, jacking rent, destroying roads, not giving one F about it’s long term residents being pushed out with little to no affordable housing. Maybe developers should be required to donate the tree trunks to build some affordable housing “tree housing”  for Seattle residents. Greed and Money. I don’t even recognize it here anymore. I am not feeling at all encouraged by much of anything here anymore.

  • RT March 31, 2021 (2:42 pm)

    In a number of cases we can hazard a guess about which property owners topped “offending” trees just by following the line of sight from the grove to the home above.  This seems pretty clear along Bonair. Devastating topping across a large swath and only a few properties would have  benefitted.  Sad, because they should still have had a great view to the NW without brutalizing that stand. 

  • Pessoa March 31, 2021 (5:04 pm)

    If you can take the shock, drive out to a suburb like Kenmore where huge densely forested lots full of mature trees  are being completely razed – not a shrub left standing  – for cookie-cutter developments.  It’s on a scale that makes the loss of a few trees in WS look insignificant.  But look on the bright side, imagine the world without the advent of coal or oil, there wouldn’t be a stick of wood standing on the globe. 

  • CarDriver March 31, 2021 (7:53 pm)

    When mom passed away my folks had lived in their house for almost 70 years. To keep the view on the steep slope below they topped the trees(with neighbors permission) They NEVER had a slide and SHOCKER ALERT: trees never died and ALWAY’S grew back.

  • dunnkld March 31, 2021 (9:19 pm)

    That beautiful monster in the photos was well over 5 feet in circumferance at the base. Growing in a parking strip! Did anyone hear a report of how old it was considered to be?

    • sb2780 April 1, 2021 (9:11 am)

      I’d like to know the story behind this tree as well. I walk this block regularly and was shocked to see the leftover tree trunk parts scattered on the ground. I wondered if it was perhaps diseased?

  • Scubafrog April 1, 2021 (8:41 am)

    Yes I was driving down Bonaire just yesterday, and saw several trees cut in half.  This must be the easement mentioned.  I hope those trees survive, that would be disastrous for the hillside if their root structures failed.

  • steve April 1, 2021 (9:06 am)

    That beautiful monster was old enough to lift the sidewalk 2 feet(trip hazard), and take out  a sewer line. That tree belongs in a park or forest,  NOT a planting strip.

  • Marcus April 1, 2021 (11:49 am)

    I always feel bad about people who have view property and then trees grow to block the view.  We also see that will our city view parks.  I do not want to block views but I also value the trees.  Heck that is one of the most likeable things of West Seattle are the great views both public and private.  As long as a replanting program is established, I do not mind view trees being removed or trimmed–but the replanting program must exceed the original.Also some of these huge maples become dangerous and in heavy winds could come down on people walking or driving or on a house.  If a tree is dangerous it should be removed.  Trees fall in the woods all the time so that is just the cycle.Would like to see more trees planted on parking strips as long as they do not get into the power and communications lines.  That would help clean the air and reduce urban temperatures.  Love the majestic old guys that have withstood the generations.  West Seattle was logged a over a 100 years ago so the old ones now have been planted by our ancestors. 

    • JohnW April 1, 2021 (2:22 pm)

      Thank you Marcus.
      Many of us that grew up wandering the hillsides of West Seattle remember those more sensible times.
      Tree issues had not become so Balkanized (that phrase had not yet existed before earning its  historical context) and neighbors were actually neighborly.   
      We all acknowledged that trees vs views could mostly be managed by co-operation that then occurred legally between the city and homeowners and neighbors.  
      I grew up to love the combination of the trees, Puget Sound and Olympics.  
      After we bought our house in 1996, we saw the “Trees ARE the View” bumper-stickers proliferate as our views of anything but the trees was greatly diminished: goodbye the fable ferry, goodbye ship traffic, goodbye Vashon Ferry Dock, goodbye Naval Ships, goodbye The Brothers, goodbye Blake Island…
      all blocked by a bunch of volunteer Big Leaf Maples that had been topped for decades.  
      The incredible 170 degree view that our home’s mid century modern window wall was designed for in the late 50s  was now a seasonal view of 30 degrees.  

      Sold our home of a quarter century last Thanksgiving.

      Never really checked the new owners’ vehicles for slogans, but I do hope that they do believe that

      RIP – Seattle’s famous views, for the rest of us.

  • Alki Local April 2, 2021 (2:16 pm)

    My husband frequently walks by the house where the huge tree was removed. He was told the tree was diseased.

  • STUART NIVEN April 3, 2021 (10:50 am)

    Thank you for the post and for all of the diverse and interesting comments. I am an environmental, ecology and tree preservation expert and the current arborist on the Seattle Urban Forestry Commission which has been trying unsuccessfully for over ten years to advise the Mayor and City Council on the many reasons why trees must be adequately protected in Seattle. I am also the arborist on Seattle Audubon’s Conservation Committee and to be clear, this comment is NOT on behalf of either of these groups.The discussion is complex in some ways but very simple in others. Without healthy trees, all life in Seattle suffers as do the surrounding ecosystems as the fewer trees Seattle has, the higher the rates of pollution (air, ground and water) there are locally and beyond as trees help ‘filter’ the air, ground and water of pollutants as well as provide essential shade and other protection from the elements which help reduce heat in the Summer and help reduce the impact of the cold and rain in the Winter. As tree canopy decreases the ‘heat island effect’ increases, habitat for wildlife and birds decreases and the physical and mental well being and health of all humans decreases. Removing all trees in Seattle to allow increased density will NOT and is NOT preventing de-forestation in outlying areas as all cities and counties locally are increasing density so this argument for allowing trees to be removed in Seattle for density is not valid and is simply political spin being thrown into the public realm by developers who do not want to work harder and lose profit by working around trees. Trees and density can happen in tandem but it requires developers to think harder, pay for better architects and contractors to careful design and build around buildings. This is where it becomes complicated as this is where ‘code’ and the Tree ‘Protection’ Ordinance conversation evolves, so I will not get into this now. However, one very important point that the majority of the residents of Seattle likely do not know which I believe to be one of the most poignant and deeply offensive to all ‘non-developer’ property owners, is the fact that a developer has more rights than a ‘regular’ property owner, when it comes to what they can do with trees, regardless of the size, age and species of the tree(s). Current building code (SMC 25.11 & DR 16-2008) as it pertains to tree ‘protection’ prevents a property owner from removing more than three ‘significant’ trees larger than six inches in diameter in any one year and any ‘exceptional’ tree (typically any tree larger than 30 inches diameter or smaller for certain species) unless the tree is deemed to be ‘high’ or ‘extreme’ risk by a qualified Tree Risk Assessor (there are exceptions if a tree is proven to be causing physical harm to a property). However, a property owned by a developer (even an individual or company that has no connection to Seattle whatsoever beyond using it to make money) where the existing house and landscape is proposed to be replaced by a larger and/or larger number of buildings (house with DADU, townhomes, row houses etc), any number of trees can be removed regardless of  their respective size, age, species or condition. This means an older smaller house on a large property with estalbished landscaping and mature healthy trees can be completed razed by a developer, yet a property owner who may have lived in the same type of property for 60 years and may even have planted some or all of the trees, would be restricted in what they can remove and when. This to me is shocking and to any property owner in the City, should be cause for alarm and all non-developer property owners should be asking the City why they have fewer property rights than developers, who very often create LLC companies every time they develop a property simply so they do not have to be held accountable for the supposed but rarely enforced tree replacement that is very casually required by current codes. Seattle has a serious problem and it is rapidly growing worse and we, like frogs in a pot of boiling water, are not seeing what is happening around us and soon it will be too late to stop it. To repeat, a developer has more rights than a regular property owner when it comes to being able to remove trees. There are many examples recently and currently, where developers are removing 30-40 (or more on some much larger properties) healthy, native conifers and deciduous trees, including ‘exceptional’ trees and are not ‘replacing’ them as there is no room to so and the City is not enforcing this replacement requirement. I cannot afford to own a property in Seattle but if I could, I would be utterly disgusted to know that I have fewer property rights than the developer who may be offering higher rates to my neighbour to buy their older property with existing healthy trees, to raze the property and build only buildings with no room for any decent trees on the site. Once Seattle has no large trees, and it only has density, it will be increasingly hard to new trees to survive and the health of the ecology and all human life will be irreversibly affected and we all suffer. Seattle is failing its residents, human and all other life, including our ancestors that are growing as trees around us, keeping us safe, nurturing us and helping us life healthy and happy lives.Thank you for listening.

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