No Postings and No Appeal Options

When attendees at the June 6, 2019 Tree Ordinance Rewrite Draft Outline public meeting were asked to comment on the "Doing Everything Right" concept board on how they felt about having "No Postings" and No Appeal Options", the responses were overwhelmingly negative:

  • Appeals and postings needed to keep transparency, prevent corruption, and provide citizen oversight.
  • There should always be appeals and postings. This helps with oversight and transparency.
  • The TPO w/o the Appeals process will be just a permitting process for developers.
  • We need appeals.
  • How can argue “doing everything right” if there’s no appeal?
  • No posting and no appeals = No trees.
  • More appeals.
  • There must be an appeals process with the new ordinance! Property owners and residents need an open and transparent process (w/right to participate).
  • No postings/no appeal = lots of opportunity for corruption. Protect our right to appeal!
  • No! This means no citizen oversight regarding what is acceptable flexibility.
  • (Note partially covered) … balances for this process = Keep the appeals process.
  • Appeals are critical – the city doesn’t always have all the necessary information to make a good decision.
  • Must keep postings and appeals with transparent log online of each for public review please!

Likewise, when asked to comment on the "Development Standards" concept board how they felt about a "Streamlined process with no appeal/ posting required", they posted:

  • With no enforcement and no transparency this is a waste of time and effort.
  • Do not understand streamlined process w/no appeal/posting rec’d. This opens up to misinterpretation/corruption due to lack of oversight.
  • The arborists aren’t enforcing the ordinance today. How can we trust them to do so under and new ordinance?
  • Question: Dies city have the staff? Is there a commitment to tree protection?
  • It cannot be that the city cannot stop this! 

A Better Alternative

We support streamlining the permitting process for developers who are indeed "doing everything right" by not having them go through the appeals process.  However, appeals already are not being filed on developers who are following the Tree Protection Ordinance.  The public simply does not trust the City to decide a developer is "doing everything right" without any public oversight since appeals are frequently upheld by the Tree Commission, indicating that the City sometimes gets it wrong.

The number of appeals heard by the Tree Commission can be reduced by:

  • Having the Arborist Plan Reviewer refuse to issue preliminary permits which they know are appealable. The City Arborist should be on the front line of upholding the Tree Ordinance, not deferring that responsibility to the Tree Commission;
  • Advising developers on how a tree appeal will delay their permit so there's a clear incentive to "doing everything right" the first time;
  • Publicly recognizing developers who follow the tree ordinance and do an outstanding job of minimizing tree loss to the maximum extent possible;
  • Having the Tree Commission more fully evaluate appeals before hearings and pro-actively work with both parties to resolve disputes before the hearing.





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