Tree and Environment Advisory Committee
The Tukwila Tree and Environment Advisory Committee first met in 2012-2013 to help draft new Comprehensive Plan goals and policies related to the natural environment and urban forestry. These goals and policies were adopted by the Tukwila City Council in 2013 and can be found in Chapter 4 of the Comprehensive Plan. Among the new goals and policies are those that promote the City-wide increase of tree canopy and tree retention, and recognize the benefits trees provide to the environment and urban infrastructure, as well as the beauty provided in the urban setting.
The Committee met again in 2015-2016 to help draft revisions to the City’s landscaping code, which had not been updated for 17 years. The landscaping code applies to commercial, industrial, multi-family, and non-residential development in the single-family district. The new landscaping regulations can be found here in TMC 18.52. The revised landscaping regulations implement Comprehensive Plan urban forestry goals and policies that promote best management practices in landscape maintenance and ensure replacement of trees when removed due to disease or death.
The Tukwila Tree and Advisory Committee met September, 2017 – the beginning of November, 2017 to review proposed new or revised definitions related to urban forestry as well as proposed changes to the City’s tree regulations. The Committee completed its work on November 1, 2017 and has forwarded these revisions to the Tukwila Planning Commission.
The Planning Commission will hold a work session on changes to definitions and tree regulations on Thursday, November 16, 2017, from 5:30-6:30 p.m. and will continue the work session after a public hearing is held on a project related to Tukwila Village. The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the proposed changes to the definitions and tree regulations on Thursday, December 14, 2017, beginning at 6:30 p.m. If you have questions about the proposed changes, please contact Carol Lumb, at Carol.Lumb@TukwilaWA.gov, or call 206-431-3661. The materials for the Planning Commission packet can be found here: http://records.tukwilawa.gov/WebLink/Browse.aspx?startid=10154&row=1&dbid=1.
You may also comment on the proposed changes, either at the public hearing on December 14, 2017 or by sending comments to Carol Lumb at the email address noted above or by mailing them to her at the Department of Community Development, 6300 Southcenter Blvd., Tukwila, WA 98188.
Some key proposed changes are:
- A no-fee Tree Inventory Survey for the removal of 1-4 trees on a single-family property improved with a single-family dwelling. This will allow the City to track the number of trees removed each year to gauge whether the Comprehensive Plan goal of maintaining 47% tree canopy in single-family residential is being met.
- No tree removal on vacant lots prior to approval of a development proposal.
- Removal of more than 4 trees in a 3-year period on a single-family property improved with a single-family dwelling would require a permit (fee required) and possibly an arborist’s report, and replacement either on-site or payment into the tree fund. This is the same as the current code, except for requiring an arborist report at the Director’s discretion.
- As part of development such as a short plat or subdivision, tree protection is required for trees that are retained. Trees that are removed must be replaced based on a sliding scale based on the tree canopy lost.
- Alterations may be required to the layout of development to preserve trees on-site.
- Exceptional trees, those over 18-inches diameter at breast height, cannot be removed without an arborist report and a tree permit. Replacement at the appropriate ratio would be required.
- A Heritage Tree program is proposed to recognize trees that are exceptional in size, or have historical significance to the community etc. The property owner must agree to the designation of a Heritage Tree for a tree on their property.
- Similar to the landscaping code – the violations section is expanded and penalties are proposed for the removal of trees without a permit
- The Tree Replacement Fund is codified and uses of funds specified.