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June 25, 2008 at 9:54 pm #587297
As well as being against the law(!) it seems irresponsible for neighbors to dump yard clippings or to skeletonize madrona trees on this fragile hillside. And they know better. Having money seems to give them a sense of entitlement that rules don’t apply to them. When I reported one previous neighbor who had cleared trees on land not his, and the inspector agreed with me and wrote up a report, the inspector ended up getting fired. My repeated calls to have another inspector, were ignored. Money, unfortunately, trumps landslide prevention in Seattle.June 25, 2008 at 10:06 pm #628959
KenParticipantJune 25, 2008 at 11:27 pm #628960
Could you please post a link to the law stating that it is illegal to throw yard trimmings over your hill?
I grew up on a hill in West Seattle, and we always dumped our grass clippings over.
Thanks!June 26, 2008 at 12:14 am #628961
And as I say to people with interesting stories to tell, we tell ’em in the news section here on WSB as well – since reporting here is our fulltime gig. If you have pictures, documents, names, verification the inspector got fired, feel free to contact us in e-mail:
–Tracy (editor/co-publisher/veteran journalist)June 26, 2008 at 3:10 pm #628962
So, can we get a conformation? Is it illegal or not to put yard clippings over your hill (if you own the property to the bottom of the hill)?June 26, 2008 at 4:24 pm #628963
I’m less concerned about the law but would like to understand how dumping grass clippings on a hillside contributes to landslide danger. Seems to me that decomposing yard waste would *contribute* to the soil strength, not reduce it. Please correct me if I am wrong, because I would truly like to understand.June 26, 2008 at 4:39 pm #628964
Yeah, I really don’t think dumping yard waste on a hillside is a problem. This is VERY common. Their own backyard composting site.
And…big Madrona trees are naturally kind of skeletal and perched precariously.June 26, 2008 at 9:43 pm #628965
I’ll be seeing Mr. Rasmussen next week at a function. If you could please post the general vicinity (i.e. the whatever block of such-and-such street) in this thread I’ll be happy to ask what happened to the person who took the complaint.June 27, 2008 at 2:17 am #628966
Thanks, Patrick. I’ll dig up the paperwork.
It’s confusing for me. I just want people to stop the behavior but don’t want them to incur massive fines. I will notify webmaster re details so it’s not a public post here. I wish to inform and change behavior, not get people in trouble…except of course the higher-ups who fired the inspector and did not follow up on valid complaints. I see that as professional misconduct, for which there really isn’t a valid excuse.
For composters: there are slopes, and then again there are very steep slopes on which landslides are already common or likely. Cutting trees down eliminates roots stabilizing the slope; madrona trees don’t tolerate summer watering (as in watering a lawn every evening which people do here); debris tossed on a slope retains water during the rainy season, and water/weight on a slope can precipitate landslides. If you look at a topo map of landslide areas in Seattle, you can see that some areas are prime for landslides. Rules are probably different in non-landslide-prone areas. I’ll follow up later with specifics to webmaster, and other specifics here later.
When I asked re inspector being fired, the woman in charge said the inspector was generally late with paperwork and was fired, but I don’t see why a valid complaint was then ignored. The person in charge said they were very busy due to losing that inspector. Again, what about valid complaint?
They handled the complaint with a phonecall to the neighbor who cut the trees, did not even come to check out the site in person and no return phonecall to me for follow-up. What kind of enforcement is this? Not visiting the site?? The man cut down trees and built a retaining wall without a permit in an area where this would require a permit, and dumped waste on the area below his retaining wall so any slide wouldn’t impact him.
Re madronas being skeletal/perched precariously: we are trying to prevent erosion, landslide, and unstable slopes by avoiding dumping and excessive watering of slope areas. Land practices on steep slopes are different for that very reason: preventing landslides, and subsequent landslides due to a slope being unstable. There are pertinent booklets on this topic. I will follow up with specific references but need to do other work tonight.June 27, 2008 at 3:23 am #628967
I completely understand the need to limit the cutting of trees on steep slope areas. Their root structure is a very important part of the hillside and maintains it’s stability. It angers me when people clear cut their hillsides to improve their view, and disregard the problems that it might cause for them and their neighbors.
I have no reason to believe that depositing yard trimmings has an adverse effect in and around steep slope areas.June 27, 2008 at 3:43 am #628968
i think the impact of dumping yard trimmings on a slope is dependent upon how steep the slope is and the time of year. dumping yard trimmings in the rainy season can increase the amount of water both in and on the soil and the increased weight can trigger or facilitate a slide…
however… have you considered the other impact of yard trimmings on your slope? increased critter habitat? perhaps critters you would prefer not to encourage…
much better to compost them if you can…June 27, 2008 at 5:35 am #628969
Found this on a longfellow creek website:
*It is illegal to dump yard and garden wastes down a storm drain, culvert, in the street, down a ravine or in a park. To report illegal dumping, call the Seattle Solid Waste Utility at (206) 684-7587*
*Yard waste that is dumped down the ravine will smother native plants living there, and cause erosion. These plants and their roots will die and stop holding the ravine in place*June 27, 2008 at 3:30 pm #628970
So if I have a big enough lot that there is a ravine in my back yard, it is illegal to use it as I see fit? Hmm. I’d like to see the details of the RCW on that one. I’ll poke around and see what I can find.June 27, 2008 at 4:16 pm #628971
I found this too, in a Innis Arden newsletter:
*It is tempting to avoid ‘clean green’ disposal charges by dumping yard waste down steep banks that are so prevalent. However, such dumping results in slope instability and attracts rodents (rats). Dumping of any debris anywhere (including private property) violates Washington State Law Title 70 RCW and King County Code Title 10. Persons who dispose of waste illegally are guilty of a misdemeanor, subject to civil penalties, abatement orders, property liens, and other legal actions.
Debris adds weight to the slope. The added weight may cause the slope to slide. Added debris kills existing plants, the roots of which help to stabilize the slope.*June 28, 2008 at 12:57 am #628972
Those chapters are helpful, but RCW Title 70 is huge. :) I looked at RCW 70.93 (Waste reduction, recycling, and model litter control act) and RCW 70.95 (Solid waste management â€” reduction and recycling) but found nothing pertinent.
KCC Title 10 seems to say that leaving any waste, of any kind, anywhere on your property is a violation of Title 10. It does not have specific callouts for environmentally sensitive areas. And due to its overbroad nature, I suspect that KCC Title 10 would not be enough on its own to prosecute unless it was a gross violation.
I am still very interested having the exact citations of law which render such disposal of yard waste “illegal.” Hopefully ws4ever will come back and be able to provide more specifics.July 1, 2008 at 8:26 am #628973
Sorry for time lapse. Please check website: Department of Ecology, Puget Sound Landslides. Click on Prevention, and Slope Stability maps. Also see Longfellow Creek Community Website. I cannot find the specific # of law. Maybe you’re better at the search than I am. Inspectors are sent out, inspect whether complaints are in violation of the law; and violators can be fined.
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