Tree Ordinance Rewrite Update

Is City Planning Listening to the People?

City Planning recently updated their website with a summary of the feedback they received from the community on the Tree Ordinance Rewrite Draft Outline they presented in June. While their summary captures some of the feedback that residents and tree advocates have given, it fails to reflect the degree of opposition that was expressed towards two concepts they proposed in June:

  1. Eliminating the posting and appeals process, and
  2. Allowing one non-high value tree to be cut on a property each year for non-construction purposes.

Feedback to both of these concepts were overwhelmingly negative to the point of being deal breakers, yet, City Planning still had both concepts in the presentation they gave to City Council on August 22.

The City also floated a new concept -- the "Tree Bank" -- at the August 22 work session that was not part of the June TPO Rewrite Draft Outline, thus no broad-based community input on this proposal exists. City Planning did not clarify in detail how the Tree Bank differs from the current Tree Trust Fund, but we believe it will serve as a transactional market to trade tree credits between those who remove trees and those who would accept planting more trees. A concern we have with a credit-based Tree Bank is that trees already are not being planted with the money collected from recompense fees assessed on removed trees. Millions of dollars are being stockpiled in the Tree Trust Fund and there is no transparent accounting for the fund's expenditures. If the Tree Trust Fund is not succeeding in replanting trees to achieve no net loss of trees and we can't account for all the dollars being spent from that fund, why would a Tree Bank be any more effective or transparent?

A comparison of what the City and The Tree Next Door heard can be found here.  A detailed look at what City Planning and The Tree Next Door saw posted to the different concept boards presented at the June meetings can be found here.

Time Table Pushed Back Again

The time table for the tree ordinance rewrite has been pushed back again.  The first draft of the tree ordinance rewrite won't be ready for public review until as late as November with a second draft ready sometime in December 2019.  Click the chart below to see the expanded view.

    august schedule update

August 22, 2019 - City Council Work Session

A work session for City Council members took place on Thursday, August 22.  Planning Commissioner Tim Keane gave a slide show presentation outlining the current status of the project and the Council members present all expressed significant disappointment that there was no first draft ready yet.  Council member Natalyn Archibong pressed Tim Keane to commit to having a first draft for City Council to review in November "before Thanksgiving", and Keane agreed.  A video link to the meeting can be found here.

First Look At Numbers from Accela Permitting Database

At the City Council Work Session on August 22, Tim Keane presented some 
high level numbers from Accela, the City's permitting database, on the tree removals that have occurred on private property over the past six years.  The numbers look a bit low to us given the number of trees that have been removed on just the properties in which TTND has been engaged.  

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