Tree Code Updates

Introduction

The City of Edmonds adopted an Urban Forest Management Plan (UFMP) in July 2019 which included goals and policy guidance for tree retention within the City of Edmonds. Goal 1.A of the UFMP is to Update tree regulations to reduce clearcutting or other development impacts of the urban forest and consider changes to tree replacement requirements and penalties for code violations. The City of Edmonds began an update of the City's tree regulations in 2020 with the primary focus of having requirements that will result in more trees being retained when properties are developed and to require replanting for trees that are removed. These regulations are not intended to, by themselves to implement every goal identified in the UFMP and will not achieve no net loss of the canopy within the City of Edmonds which is another stated goal of UFMP. More actions by the City will be needed to implement the UFMP goals and achieve greater protection and enhancement of the City's urban forest. Information on Stage 1 of the tree regulations is provided below.

During the Stage 1 review of the tree regulations several comments were received on the limited scope of this stage of the regulation updates. When the Planning Board forwarded their recommendation on the regulations to the City Council, the Planning Board wanted to acknowledge the public comments received during in Planning Board's review and recommend the Council continue with a Stage 2 of tree regulations. The City Council also expressed a desire to expand the scope of the regulations and explore other actions that can help the City achieve the goal of no net loss of canopy coverage and also providing net ecological gain. A number of tree related actions have been identified for Stage 2 which includes further regulation updates the apply to developed properties, conducting a tree canopy assessment, updating the City Street Tree Plan and other tree related activities. Stage 2 topics and estimated timelines are provided in this table.

Landmark Tree Emergency Ordinance
To preserve the largest trees while the next stage of the tree regulations updates are being considered, the City Council passed Ordinance No. 4217. This emergency ordinance prohibits the removal of trees with a 24-inch diameter at breast height (4.5 feet above the ground) on all properties unless the tree is a hazard tree, nuisance tree, or removal has bee reviewed with a building permit, subdivision, or other land use approval. This prohibition went into effect on the evening of March 2, 2021 upon adoption of the ordinance and is currently set to expire on September 2, 2021.

Stage 1 Tree Regulations Update

Below are links to the Planning Board and City Council review of Stage 1 of the tree regulation update.

Planning Board Review

The Planning Board reviewed the draft tree code regulations throughout the final quarter of 2020, holding a public hearing on the draft regulations December 9, 2020 and forwarding a recommendation to the City Council following the January 13, 2021 Planning Board meeting. Links to the Planning Board agendas where the tree code was discussed are provided below. Planning Board meetings were held remotely via Zoom and a video recording of the Zoom meetings are provided in the video links below. The public hearing version of the draft tree code is available at this link.

Planning Board Meeting Date Planning Board Agenda Link Approved Minutes Video
October 14, 2020 Agenda Minutes Video
October 28, 2020 Agenda Minutes Video
November 12, 2020 Agenda Minutes Video
November 18, 2020 Agenda Minutes Video
December 9, 2020 Public Hearing Agenda Minutes Video
January 13, 2021 Agenda
Minutes Video

City Council Review

The City Council began reviewing the Planning Board's recommendation at the January 26, 2021 Council meeting and adopted a a version of the tree regulations on March 2, 2021 under Ordinance No. 4218. The Council continued to make amendments to the regulations adopted under Ordinance No. 4218 at subsequent Council meetings. These amendments were ultimately be adopted in two subsequent ordinances with the adoption of Ordinance No. 4220 and Ordinance No. 4227.    Adoption of Ordinance No. 4227 complete Stage 1 of the tree regulations update.

Links to the tree code agenda, Council minutes and a video link were the tree regulations updates were discussed are provided below.

City Council Meeting Date City Council  Agenda Link Approved Minutes Video
January 26, 2021 Agenda Minutes Video
February 2, 2021 Public Hearing Agenda Minutes Video
February 16, 2021 Agenda Minutes Video
March 2, 2021 Agenda Minutes Video
March 9, 2021 Agenda Minutes Video
March 16, 2021 Agenda
Minutes Video
March 23, 2021   Agenda   Minutes    Video
April 13, 2021    Agenda    Minutes    Video 
June 22, 2021    Agenda   Minutes   Video 
July 6, 2021   Agenda   Minutes   Video

 

Commenting

To be added to an email listserv for receiving updates on tree related activities, submit your email to trees@edmondswa.gov. Written comments to the City Council on the tree regulations or landmark tree emergency ordinance can be submitted to publiccomments@edmondswa.gov