Open Space Seattle:2100

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Significant Urban Trees

This was an interesting tidbit that came across the ticker. In San Francisco, they recently amended their urban forestry ordinance to protect landmark trees. The revised text reads:

WHEREAS, Trees that have: historic or cultural importance, contribute in an

exceptional way to the visual character of neighborhoods, or provide important

<> environmental benefits have a special value and meaning to the community; and,

Landmark trees shall be determined as prescribed, considering the five factors that are listed under Sec. 810(A)(d). Significant Trees shall have a nomination process that goes before the Urban Forest Council, which makes a recommendation to the Director of Public Works. (Appealable to the Board of Permit Appeals.) The criteria and characteristics for this
determination shall be public benefit and public view trunk diameter, canopy and height. Additional recommendations for Section 810A would be to (1) combine one category to
simplify the code, i.e. Landmark significant trees; (2) bring the intangible characteristics to a
higher level making those items equal with tangible sizes; (3) nomination of a tree on private
property requires 3 parties if the property owner(s) are opposed to the nomination; (4) the
process requires nomination rather than automatic designation; (5) make the size
requirements greater; (6) encourage language that leaves room for the requirements to
broaden over time; and (7) to incorporate amendments to the Significant Tree portion, Section
810A as recommended by the Urban Forest Council and in the work done by others.

This is particularly relevant with the on-going controversy at Seward Park and the previous controversy at Pioneer Square. Does Seattle need one?


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