$100K now earmarked to develop a tree ordinance for unincorporated King County
King County Council has approved Councilmember Joe McDermott's suggested proviso for $100k in the county's 2023 budget--to develop a tree ordinance for unincorporated urban areas.
Last June, a forest was clearcut in White Center to build one single-family home. LETTER: White Center neighbors decry large clearcut and ask King County for executive tree protection order | Westside Seattle Through subsequent discussions with county staff, we learned that there is no protection for urban trees in King County's unincorporated urban areas like White Center and Skyway. (Rural/agricultural areas have different environmental guidelines for trees). These urban communities especially need trees given their exposure to aviation emissions and urban heat islands, profiled here: Tree removal raises concerns about the heat in unincorporated King County | king5.com
Things are looking up for our beautiful urban trees! Below is the text of the proviso. Please include Councilmember McDermott in your Thanksgiving good wishes, and if you want to send him thanks his email is Joe.McDermott@kingcounty.gov
Pxx PROVIDED FURTHER THAT:
Of this appropriation, $100,000 shall not be expended or encumberd until the executive transmits a tree code update report and a motion that should acknowledge receipt of the report and a motion acknowledging receipt of the report is passed by the council. The motion should reference the subject matter, the proviso's ordinance number, ordinance section, and proviso number in both the title and body of the motion. The report shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
A. A description of the county's current tree retention regulations for urban unincorporated areas, and the enforcement mechanisms for the county's current regulations;
B. A description of tree retention regulations and enforcement mechanisms for urban areas in neighboring western Washington counties and King County cities;
C. A description of industry best practices for tree retention regulation, and enforcement mechanisms, in urban areas;
D. An evaluation and recommendation of whether and how the county's urban unincorporated areas tree retention regulations or enforcement mechanisms, or both, should be updated given other jurisdiction's requirements or industry best practices; and
E. If updates are recommended, a timeline and public engagement strategy for completing the update and transmitting a proposed ordinance to council.
The executive should electronically file the report and motion required by this proviso no later than June 1, 2023with the clerk of the council, who shall retain an electronic copy and provide an electronic copy to all councilmembers, the council chief of staff, and the lead staff for the local services and land use committee or its successor.