Chapter 16.13
CLEARING

Sections:

16.13.010    Administrative provisions.

16.13.020    When a clearing permit is required – Exempt trees.

16.13.030    Contents of clearing permit application.

16.13.040    Decision criteria on developed non-single-family sites.

16.13.050    Decision criteria on residential development sites.

16.13.060    Decision criteria on nonresidential development sites.

16.13.070    Decision criteria in parks and open space tracts.

16.13.080    Decision criteria on other undeveloped sites not proposed for development.

16.13.090    Additional decision criteria on all clearing permit applications.

16.13.100    Compliance with RCW 76.09.240, regulation of certain forest practices.

16.13.110    Timing of clearing permits.

16.13.120    Tree replacement.

16.13.130    Protection of trees to be retained.

16.13.010 Administrative provisions.

See Chapter 16.12 BLMC. (Ord. 1171 § 1, 2005).

16.13.020 When a clearing permit is required – Exempt trees.

A. A clearing permit is required for the clearing of more than four-tenths of an acre of land, whatever the groundcover.

B. A land clearing and tree removal permit is required for removal, topping, or killing of any tree other than the following, which are exempt; provided, that these exemptions shall not apply in areas protected by the critical areas code, Chapters 16.20 through 16.30 BLMC:

1. Trees on nonsubdividable lots (see BLMC 16.12.010, Definitions) containing a single-family residence (see BLMC 18.04.190 for definition);

2. Trees in utility public rights-of-way and easements;

3. Trees less than six inches in diameter measured 54 inches above grade;

4. Trees that are likely to fall in a windstorm and that due to their size and location threaten to injure people or cause major property damage;

5. Trees that are dead or dying;

6. Trees whose roots are damaging foundations or pavements;

7. Nuisance trees as defined in Chapter 8.40 BLMC;

8. Trees grown for sale at commercial nurseries or tree farms;

9. Trees harvested under a forest practices permit administered by the Department of Natural Resources, where the land is replanted, not converted to urban use. See also BLMC 16.13.080;

10. In addition to the above, five percent of the tax parcel’s nonexempt trees, rounded to the nearest whole number, may be removed per calendar year without a permit;

11. For exemptions in subsections (B)(4), (5), and (6) of this section, to ensure the removal is not a violation, the owner shall provide the director(s) with an arborist report documenting qualification for said exemption in advance of the removal. Failure to do so shall constitute prima facie evidence of a violation of this title and a need to replace the removed trees in accordance with BLMC 16.13.120. (Ord. 1325 § 5, 2009; Ord. 1230 § 14, 2007; Ord. 1171 § 1, 2005).

16.13.030 Contents of clearing permit application.

Applications for clearing permits shall contain:

A. An accurate plan with date, scale, and north arrow showing:

1. Proposed improvements including structures, driveways, utilities, and storm drainage facilities;

2. Location of nonexempt trees with notes as to their species, size, condition if appropriate, whether they are to be retained, and, if not to be retained, the reason for removal;

3. Location of proposed new tree plantings; and

4. Critical areas, critical area buffers, and open space tracts.

B. Detailed explanation of how trees to be retained will be protected during clearing and construction.

C. Time schedule for proposed clearing, excavation, restoration, erosion control, construction, and similar actions.

D. Permit fees per Chapter 3.68 BLMC.

E. Other information deemed necessary by the director(s). (Ord. 1171 § 1, 2005).

16.13.040 Decision criteria on developed non-single-family sites.

On developed sites which are not exempt under BLMC 16.13.020(A), including sites containing duplexes, multifamily housing, businesses, offices, shops, warehouses, and institutional uses, and on which no new development is proposed or anticipated, the director(s) shall approve or deny clearing permits consistent with the following rules:

A. Nonexempt trees may be removed for all practical reasons common to owners of such properties, such as to let in sun, reduce leaf or needle dropping, allow room for building or parking lot expansions, or revise existing landscaping, provided they are replaced according to BLMC 16.13.120.

B. Nonexempt trees may be removed to open views. However, the thinning of obstructing limbs is preferred.

C. Applicants are encouraged to consult an arborist, inform neighbors, and consider the impact on the neighborhood.

D. See also BLMC 16.13.090. (Ord. 1171 § 1, 2005).

16.13.050 Decision criteria on residential development sites.

On sites where new residential development is proposed or anticipated, whether short plat, subdivision, or multifamily development, the director(s) shall approve or deny clearing permits consistent with the following rules:

A. Tree retention requirements shall not interfere with full development at the dwelling unit density permitted in the applicable zone; provided, that for tree retention purposes, slopes over 25 percent shall be excluded from the net acreage as defined in BLMC 18.04.140. Sufficient clearing shall be allowed to make room for required buildings, driveways, walkways, parking, vision clearance triangles (see definitions), utilities, stormwater facilities, and similar improvements. If the city requires that trees be retained, the city shall allow clustering of homes on other parts of the site as necessary to retain overall density.

B. Within the parameters of subsection A of this section, the city shall control which nonexempt trees are retained in accordance with the community development element and environmental stewardship element of Bonney Lake 2035. The city may require the retention of perimeter trees, interior trees, or stands of trees. Retained trees may be located in individual lots or in open space tracts.

C. In any area to be preserved as open space, in addition to requiring retention of nonexempt trees, the city may require plantings sufficient, upon maturity, to partly or wholly reforest the open space area.

D. Within the parameters of subsection A of this section, the city may require that existing groundcover be retained or replaced in accordance with the community development element and environmental stewardship element of Bonney Lake 2035.

E. Where Chapter 16.14 BLMC requires landscape buffers, the city may require that trees or groundcover be retained in partial fulfillment of said requirement.

F. The director(s) may consult an arborist on tree retention. The director(s) shall provide such guidelines and checklists as deemed proper to ensure development does not result in unnecessary cutting of trees.

G. See also BLMC 16.13.090. (Ord. 1524 § 5, 2015; Ord. 1171 § 1, 2005).

16.13.060 Decision criteria on nonresidential development sites.

On commercial, industrial, public, and institutional development sites, the director(s) shall approve or deny clearing permits consistent with the following rules:

A. Tree retention requirements shall not interfere with reasonable exercise of development rights conferred by the applicable zone. Sufficient clearing shall be allowed to make room for reasonable and required buildings, driveways, walkways, parking, vision clearance areas, utilities, stormwater facilities, and similar improvements. In this context, “reasonable” shall mean that the city will allow at least 75 percent of the lot coverage, impervious surface coverage, or other appropriate measure of site utilization that would be possible without the requirements imposed by this chapter on slopes under 25 percent and at least 25 percent of the lot coverage, impervious surface coverage, or other appropriate measure on slopes over 25 percent.

B. Within the parameters of subsection A of this section, the city shall control which trees are retained, removed, or replaced in accordance with the community development element and environmental stewardship element of Bonney Lake 2035. The city may require the retention of perimeter trees, interior trees, or stands of trees. The city may require that nonexempt trees removed from the site be replaced in accordance with BLMC 16.13.120. Any trees retained or replaced in landscape buffers required by Chapter 16.14 BLMC shall count toward fulfillment of said buffer requirements.

C. Within the parameters of subsection A of this section, the city may require that existing groundcover other than trees be retained or replaced in accordance with the community development element and environmental stewardship element of Bonney Lake 2035.

D. See also BLMC 16.13.090. (Ord. 1524 § 6, 2015; Ord. 1171 § 1, 2005).

16.13.070 Decision criteria in parks and open space tracts.

In public and private parks and open space tracts owned by homeowner associations, when no new development is proposed or anticipated, the director(s) shall approve or deny clearing permits consistent with the following rules.

A. Nonexempt trees may be removed for all practical reasons common to owners of such properties, such as to revise existing landscaping or allow room for minor improvements such as parking or trails, provided such trees are replaced according to BLMC 16.13.120.

B. Applicants will be encouraged to consult an arborist, inform neighbors, and consider the impact on the neighborhood.

C. See also BLMC 16.13.090. (Ord. 1171 § 1, 2005).

16.13.080 Decision criteria on other undeveloped sites not proposed for development.

On undeveloped sites other than parks and designated open space tracts where no development is proposed or anticipated, nonconversion (replanting required) forest practice requirements as administered by the Department of Natural Resources shall apply. Forest management plans may be required. See also BLMC 16.13.020(J), 16.13.090, and 16.13.100. If the site is a critical area or critical area buffer see Chapter 16.20 BLMC. (Ord. 1189 § 5, 2006; Ord. 1171 § 1, 2005).

16.13.090 Additional decision criteria on all clearing permit applications.

In deciding upon clearing permits, the director(s) shall also consider:

A. The purposes listed in BLMC 16.12.020;

B. City heritage tree designations per BLMC 12.24.130; and

C. Whether a tree removal could adversely affect drainage, micro-climate, or chances of tree survival on surrounding properties. (Ord. 1171 § 1, 2005).

16.13.100 Compliance with RCW 76.09.240, regulation of certain forest practices.

By this chapter and the administrative provisions of BLMC Title 14, the city complies with the requirement of RCW 76.09.240 that, by December 31, 2005, local governments shall manage forest practices associated with conversions of land to urban use. (Ord. 1171 § 1, 2005).

16.13.110 Timing of clearing permits.

A. On sites where development is proposed or anticipated, clearing permits shall not be issued until the corresponding land use, grading, or building permit is approved or until that stage in the permitting process when all major site planning issues have been decided and the proponent is committed to prompt building construction.

B. In addition to the expiration provisions of BLMC 14.10.100, unconsummated clearing permits shall expire with the expiration or revocation of their corresponding land use, grading, or building permit. (Ord. 1505 § 15, 2015; Ord. 1171 § 1, 2005).

16.13.120 Tree replacement.

A. To the extent that tree replacement is required, native trees shall be replaced with trees of the same species and non-native trees shall be replaced with native species unless the director(s) deems otherwise to result in a better urban forest. The following replacement ratios shall serve as a guide:

 

Number of 2-inch-caliper replacement trees required

Diameter of existing tree

For species small when mature such as most ornamental trees

For species large when mature such as Douglas fir, western red cedar, and big leaf maple

6 – 9 inches

1

3

10 – 14 inches

2

5

15 – 19 inches

3

7

20+ inches

4

9

B. Replacement trees and groundcover shall be planted in locations and via methods that are conducive to their survival.

C. The director(s) may require that the applicant contract with an arborist to ensure successful tree replacement.

D. The director(s) may allow replacement trees to be planted off-site if the off-site property owner or steward offers a suitable and permanent location. The off-site location may be publicly or privately owned but shall be inside the city limits or on city-owned land. Off-site replacements may be especially appropriate where the development site lacks the area necessary for the replacement plantings. (Ord. 1171 § 1, 2005).

16.13.130 Protection of trees to be retained.

A. Short plats, subdivisions, and binding site plans shall show areas being dedicated to tree or groundcover retention. The director(s) may require that tree or groundcover retention requirements be recorded against the title in covenants.

B. The clearing permit shall be displayed conspicuously on the site during clearing.

C. The city shall have the right at all times to inspect the site to ensure compliance.

D. During construction, an area corresponding to the drip line(s) or root zone(s) of the nonexempt tree(s) to be retained shall be protected from disturbance (equipment traffic, storage of materials, etc.) to the director’s satisfaction, such as with a temporary fence, plastic warning flagging, and/or signs.

E. Native groundcover shall be left undisturbed in areas where trees are to be retained.

F. If trenching must occur within the root zone of a protected tree, no more than 20 percent of its root system may be damaged. Affected roots shall be cleanly cut and immediately covered with moist soil to prevent decay. The director(s) may require a retaining wall when cuts or fills would impact more than 20 percent of the root system of a protected tree. The director(s) may require tunneling of utilities to protect roots.

G. Trees to be removed shall be removed in such a manner as to protect retained trees.

H. Best management practices shall be employed to prevent erosion. Clearing shall be conducted so as to expose the least amount of soil to erosion for the shortest time. Temporary mulch cover and similar measures may be required.

I. If any tree to be retained dies or is removed within two years of site development, said tree shall be replaced pursuant to BLMC 16.13.120. (Ord. 1171 § 1, 2005).