Chapter 16.60
VEGETATION CONSERVATION

Sections:

16.60.010    Vegetation conservation areas.

16.60.020    Vegetation management within critical areas.

16.60.030    Vegetation management within Lake Washington shoreline buffers.

16.60.010 Vegetation conservation areas.

A. Shoreline buffers shall be considered vegetation conservation areas in which existing native vegetation is retained, unless removal is specifically allowed in this chapter or it can be demonstrated that another management approach would provide equal or better protection for shoreline ecological processes and functions. Nonnative vegetation may be retained unless otherwise required to be replaced as part of an enhancement associated with development or expansion of development on the property.

B. Native and nonnative trees determined by the City to be hazardous or diseased may be removed. Selective pruning for safety and view protection is allowed, provided pruning is conducted in a manner that minimizes harm to the health of the trees being pruned.

C. Nonnative vegetation may be removed as part of a restoration or enhancement project if replacement plantings will provide greater benefit to shoreline ecological processes than would be provided by strict application of this chapter.

D. Landscaping plans for shoreline buffers associated with shoreline development regulated under the shoreline code must be prepared by a landscape architect or certified professional wetland scientist. Landscaping plans are not required for normal maintenance, including maintenance of existing nonconforming landscaping that complies with KMC 16.75.050.

E. Landscaping plans for shoreline buffers should avoid adverse impacts on existing public views of the shoreline.

F. Vegetation management in shorelines shall be consistent with the requirements for grading permits under Chapter 15.25 KMC. If there is a conflict between this chapter and Chapter 15.25 KMC, the more restrictive standards shall apply.

G. When considering compensatory habitat enhancement as mitigation for impacts from new structures, such as when a reduced buffer or a nonwater-dependent use is requested, the enhancement should be proportional to the degree of impact of the new structure on shoreline ecological functions, and take into account the degree to which the existing buffer has already been compromised. Enhancement should focus on restoring ecological functions that are most critical and that have been most diminished in the Kenmore shoreline. In approving any compensatory habitat enhancement plan, the director shall consider the changes in surface water runoff rates and water quality (such as through increased impervious area), habitat structure (such as loss or alteration of vegetation), and habitat quality (such as from lighting, noise, or activities) that the project would cause. Enhancements should generally focus on offsetting these impacts but may focus on restoring other critical ecological functions in the shoreline that have been lost or diminished (such as placement of large woody debris in water or restoring shallow water habitat). The director may determine whether an enhancement that provides a broader benefit may be substituted for one that would offset the impacts of an individual project. The director may deny a request to allow intrusion into a buffer or for development of a non-water-dependent use if the enhancement proposed does not fully mitigate the impacts of the project or provide a sufficient broader benefit. [Ord. 12-0334 § 3 (Exh. 1).]

16.60.020 Vegetation management within critical areas.

A. Vegetation management standards established in KMC 18.55.150(A)(5), 18.55.320(F)(5) and (6), 18.55.520(A)(2)(d) and (G), 18.55.530 and 18.55.650(A)(5) for critical areas and their buffers shall apply within all shorelines.

B. Vegetation management standards established in KMC 18.55.420 for streams and their buffers shall apply within Sammamish River and Swamp Creek shorelines. In addition to provisions for recreational uses in KMC 16.65.020 allowing limited modifications to critical area buffers for the purposes of public access improvements, the following standards shall apply in shorelines:

1. In Swamp Creek Park, public access trails may be located within critical areas and required buffers, when planned along with a habitat restoration project and it is demonstrated that the ecological functions of the overall standard stream buffer area would be substantially improved. Trails in Swamp Creek Park roughly paralleling the shoreline of the Sammamish River or Swamp Creek shall generally be located at least 50 feet from the ordinary high water mark, but trails may extend closer to the water if necessary to reduce impacts on critical areas or adjacent properties, or access a pedestrian bridge across Swamp Creek. Spur trails may be extended to the water’s edge but such access areas should be limited in order to protect ecological functions of the stream buffer and wetlands.

2. When public access is being provided as a part of mixed use development allowed in the Urban Conservancy Environment under KMC 16.50.030(B)(2)(a)(2), the director may allow public access trail development within the buffer in order to link with adjacent shoreline access, provided any new trail is farther from the shoreline than the waterward extent of existing development on the site and the proposed trail plan is accompanied by a plan demonstrating that the ecological functions of the overall required buffer area on a project site would be substantially improved. [Ord. 12-0334 § 3 (Exh. 1).]

16.60.030 Vegetation management within Lake Washington shoreline buffers.

A. Vegetation removal within lake shoreline buffers is prohibited in the Shoreline Residential, Urban Conservancy, and Natural Shoreline Environments along Lake Washington unless the activity is part of a shoreline restoration or enhancement project or the vegetation removal is otherwise specifically allowed under Chapter 16.50 or 16.55 KMC.

B. Vegetation clearing for permitted water-dependent uses is allowed in the Downtown Waterfront Environment. Such vegetation clearing must occur only in the minimum shoreline area that is necessary to support the permitted water-dependent use. [Ord. 12-0334 § 3 (Exh. 1).]