City needs tree ordinance

Mar 27, 2013

Dear Editor,

It is time for the City of Mukilteo to establish a Tree Ordinance in order to preserve this rapidly disappearing natural resource.

The City continues to allow clear-cutting to accommodate new development plans.  Two recent examples are currently underway in the Hidden Pointe neighborhood.

Instead of requiring developers to incorporate existing trees into the development plan, the City allows the property to be logged.

This is what you call “having your cake and eating it, too.”  There are few urban areas in the Northwest that allow logging plus development.

If you are a rural woodlot, you get to replant per your forestry permit.  If you are an urban development project, you get to work the trees into the site planning.

Trees add value to a property and a community.  They stabilize slopes and absorb water.  Trees are a vital part of the beauty and character of the City of Mukilteo.

City leaders need to enact a Tree Preservation Ordinance to ensure that we maintain the uniqueness of this community.  And, they need to do it soon.

Developers will do what is cheap and easy.  It is harder to design to the land than force the land to conform to your stock plans.

Larger, treed lots are what used to define Mukilteo.  Where is the current thinking leading us?  Spec houses on small lots with no trees equals plummeting property values, increased traffic, over-flowing schools, and infrastructure overload.

The Cities of Bellevue, Edmonds, Seattle, Lake Forest Park, Woodinville, Mercer Island and others have (or are working to have) comprehensive Tree Ordinances.  City of Bellevue code section 20.20.900 states the following purpose in preserving trees as part of a development plan:

Retention of significant trees as required by this section is necessary to maintain and protect property values, to enhance the visual appearance of the City, to preserve the natural wooded character of the Pacific Northwest, to promote utilization of natural systems, to reduce the impacts of development on the storm drainage system and water resources, and to provide a better transition between various land uses permitted in the City.

The City of Bellevue is clearly pro-business.  And, yet, they recognize the importance and value of development done right and in the long-term interests of the community.  We should too.

The City of Mukilteo needs a Tree Ordinance.  We need proactive leadership on this issue and we need it soon.

Kristin Kirk



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