Chapter 12.28STREET TREES


Enforcing authority.
Permission to plant trees.
Street tree plan.
Public utility and owners.
Dangerous trees a nuisance.
Protection of trees and shrubs.
Permits to public utilities.

It is for the best interest of the city, and of the citizens and public thereof that a comprehensive master plan for planting and maintenance of trees in public places within said city is adopted; therefore, for the purpose of developing and providing such a plan and program, and for the purpose of establishing rules and regulations relating to the planting, care and maintenance of such trees, this chapter is adopted.

(Ord. 1023 § 1, 1995)


This chapter shall be hereafter referenced to and cited as the “Tree Ordinance of the City of Cle Elum, Washington.”

(Ord. 1023 § 2, 1995)

12.28.030Enforcing authority.

A. The mayor and the city council, through the city superintendent or his duly authorized representative, shall have full power, authority, jurisdiction and control of the planting, location and placement of all trees in the public streets and areas of the city and shall likewise have supervision, direction and control of the care, trimming, removal, relocation and placement thereof and shall be charged with the enforcement of this chapter.

B. The mayor and city council may annually appoint the committee of not more than seven citizens to sit as members of the “tree committee.” The tree committee shall provide the mayor and the city superintendent with advice and information as to the supervision, direction and control of the care, trimming, removal and relocation and placement of vegetation in the public streets and areas of the city. It is understood that the committee shall act in an advisory capacity only.

(Ord. 1023 § 3, 1995)


“City superintendent” means the superintendent of utilities and streets of the city.

“Owner” means and includes the legal owner of real property fronting any highway, street of the city or park, and any leases of such owner.

“Park” means and includes all public parks having individual names.

“Persons” means and includes all firms, associations, corporations, and persons connected with such firms, association, and corporations.

“Public places” means and includes all other grounds owned by the city.

“Street” or “highway” means and includes all lands lying between the so-called property lines on either side of all public streets, roads, boulevards and alleys or parts thereof.

“Trees and shrubs” means and includes all woody vegetation now and hereafter growing on any public street or highway or public place.

(Ord. 1023 § 4, 1995)

12.28.050Permission to plant trees.

No trees or shrubs shall hereafter be placed in or removed from any street, public parking strip or other public place in the city without written permission from the city superintendent.

(Ord. 1023 § 5, 1995)

12.28.060Street tree plan.

All trees and shrubs hereafter planted in any public parking strip or other public place in the city shall conform as to species and location to the master street tree plan which is adopted, attached and made a part of this chapter.

(Ord. 1023 § 6, 1995)

12.28.070Public utility and owners.

No person other than an owner or public utility may do any act for which a permit is required under Section 12.28.080 of this chapter except a person whose principal business is tree surgery, trimming or maintenance and who, in the opinion of the city superintendent, is qualified for such business or who has obtained a permit and paid required license fee to carry on such business in the city.

(Ord. 1023 § 7, 1995)

12.28.080Dangerous trees a nuisance.

Any tree growing on a public alley, street or highway, but so located as to extend its branches over a public alley, street or highway, shall be so trimmed by the owner of the property on which the tree stands, or by his agents, that there shall be a clear height of twelve feet above the surface of the street, alley or highway and eight feet above the surface of the sidewalks unobstructed by branches, and such owner or his agents shall remove all dead branches and stubs of such tree or trees which are or may become a menace to travelers on the public highways, streets, alleys or sidewalks of the city. Trees whose roots are causing upraised sidewalk slabs or are similarly causing trouble are declared a nuisance.

If a tree or its parts in any other way cause a hindrance to the general public or if it is considered “troublesome,” or in any way may endanger the security and usefulness of any public street, highway, alley, sewer or sidewalk, as determined by the city superintendent, it is declared to be a public nuisance. If the owner of such private property does not correct or remove such nuisances within a reasonable time specified in writing by the city superintendent, he shall cause the nuisance to be corrected or removed and the cost shall be assessed to such owner.

(Ord. 1023 § 8, 1995)

12.28.090Protection of trees and shrubs.

Except to abate a nuisance as defined herein, it shall be a violation of this chapter to:

A. Fasten any sign, card, poster, wire, rope or other material to or around or through any public tree or shrub, or its guard, in the city without a written permit of the city superintendent except in emergencies such as storms or accidents;

B. Deposit, place, store or maintain upon any public area of the city, any stone, brick, sand, concrete or other materials which may impede the free passage of water, air and fertilizer to the roots of any tree or shrub growing therein;

C. Break, injure, mutilate, kill or destroy any tree or shrub, or permit any fire to burn where such fire will injure any portion of any tree or shrub in any public area; no person shall permit any toxic chemical to seep, drain or be emptied on or about any public tree or shrub; no person shall knowingly permit electric wires to come in contact with any public trees or shrubs unless protected by approved methods; and no person shall attach any electrical insulation to any public tree or shall excavate any ditches, tunnels or trenches, or lay any drive within a radius of ten feet from any public tree or shrub without first obtaining permission from the city superintendent. During building operations the builder shall erect suitable protective barriers around public trees or shrubs apt to be injured.

(Ord. 1023 § 9, 1995)

12.28.100Permits to public utilities.

Upon application to the city superintendent by a telephone, telegraph, electric power or public service corporation or utility, to trim trees, or perform other operations affecting public trees or shrubs including the activities otherwise prescribed in Section 12.28.090 of this chapter, or upon application of qualified contractors who have entered into contracts with a telephone, telegraph, electric power or other public service corporation or utility to trim trees or perform other operations affecting public trees or shrubs, the city superintendent shall grant a blanket permit, good until revoked for cause, covering all tree trimming and other operations affecting public trees or shrubs in Cle Elum by such telephone, telegraph, electric power or other public service cooperation or utility or qualified contractor. The city superintendent shall be notified of when and where such operations shall take place. The amount of such trimming or extent of the other operations shall be done in a neat, workmanlike manner, and according to generally accepted practices. If necessary the city superintendent may assign an inspector to supervise the provisions of the permit and cost of such service shall be charged to the public service corporation or utility or contractor at cost.

(Ord. 1023 § 10, 1995)


Every permit granted by the mayor, or his authorized agent, shall specifically describe the work to be done under it and shall expire at the end of not exceeding sixty days from the date of its issuance, except for those permits issued under Section 12.28.100 of this chapter. No charge shall be made for any permit.

(Ord. 1023 § 11, 1995)


Appeals from order made hereunder may be made by filing written notice thereof with the city clerk within ten days after such order is received, stating in substance that appeal is being made from such order to the city council.

The clerk thereupon shall call such appeal to the attention of the city council at the next regular succeeding meeting, at which meeting the appellant and the city superintendent may present evidence unless a future date is set for hearing the appeal. Action taken by the city council after such a public hearing shall be conclusive.

(Ord. 1023 § 12, 1995)


Any person, firm or corporation violating or failing to comply with any of the provisions of this chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof, shall be fined a sum not to exceed one thousand dollars, or may be imprisoned for a term not to exceed ninety days, or both; provided, however, that in all events restitution shall be ordered commensurate with the value of the damaged or destroyed public trees or shrubs; and further provided that, any sentence requiring community service shall require not fewer than twenty-five hours of such service, to be supervised by the tree committee overseen by the city superintendent.