Division IV. Urban Forestry Code

Chapter 16.60


16.60.010    Title.

16.60.020    Purpose.

16.60.030    Definitions.

16.60.040    Relationship to other environmental regulations.

16.60.050    Timing of permits.

16.60.060    Performance bond.

16.60.070    Maintenance.

16.60.080    Liability of the city.

16.60.010 Title.

Chapters 16.60 through 16.68 BLMC shall be known as the “urban forestry code.” (Ord. 1635 § 6, 2020).

16.60.020 Purpose.

The purpose of this urban forestry code is to:

A. Increase the community benefits that result from proximity to nature, including improved quality of life, social equity, and health outcomes;

B. Contribute to the overall health of regional and local watersheds by reducing impervious surfaces, encouraging efficient water use and conservation, and encouraging the retention and use of existing healthy and native vegetation;

C. Encourage a safe, shaded, and well connected pedestrian-oriented street environment;

D. Incorporate green space, urban tree canopy, and landscaping intended to mitigate negative impacts attributed to development and urbanization, including heat island reduction, sequestration of atmospheric carbon, prevention of glare from headlights, abatement of vehicle noise, and reduction of the visual impact of large paved area;

E. Integrate natural features and systems into the built environment, such as by using diverse native plantings in streetscapes and promoting urban wildlife habitat;

F. Implement the goals and policies of the city’s comprehensive plan;

G. Achieve no net loss of tree canopy area, while maximizing the potential for increasing tree canopy area through encouraging building and site design to minimize tree removal;

H. Establish standards and procedures that will result in the retention and planting of urban trees within Bonney Lake;

I. Allow for reasonable enjoyment and use of private property by the property owner; and

J. Ensure that tree preservation does not negatively impact the delivery of reliable utility service. (Ord. 1635 § 6, 2020).

16.60.030 Definitions.

A. Definitions for the following terms are adopted by reference from BLMC 16.20.030 as presently constituted or as may be subsequently amended:

1. Critical area;

2. Critical areas code; and

3. Undevelopable critical area.

B. The definition for the term “shoreline code” is adopted by reference from BLMC 16.34.010 as presently constituted or as may be subsequently amended.

C. The definition for the term “shoreline jurisdiction” is adopted by reference from BLMC 16.36.030(B) as presently constituted or as may be subsequently amended.

D. Definitions for the following terms are adopted by reference from BLMC 17.10.030 as presently constituted or as may be subsequently amended:

1. Divisions of land; and

2. Lot.

E. Definitions for the following terms are adopted by reference from Chapter 18.04 BLMC as presently constituted or as may be subsequently amended:

1. Clear view triangle;

2. Setback;

3. Setback, front;

4. Setback, rear; and

5. Setback, side.

F. For the purposes of the urban forestry code the following terms shall have the meaning as provided below:

1. “Arborist” means a professional with academic and field expertise in urban forestry. This may include arborists certified by the International Society of Arboriculture or members of the Society of American Foresters, American Society of Consulting Foresters or American Society of Consulting Arborists.

2. “Caliper” means trunk diameter measured six inches above the root ball.

3. “Critical root zone (CRZ)” means either the drip line or an area extending one foot beyond the trunk for each inch of DBH, whichever is greater.

4. “Clearing” means the destruction or removal of vegetation from a site by physical, mechanical, chemical or other means.

5. “Development” means the construction of detached house or accessory dwelling unit, project which requires design review or site plan approval, or divisions of land.

6. “Grading” means any excavation, filling or combination thereof.

7. “Groundcover” means low growing, spreading plants whose primary function is covering the soil. Groundcovers may include herbaceous or woody plants and ornamental grasses.

8. “Diameter breast height (DBH)” means trunk diameter measured 54 inches above the ground adjacent to the tree.

9. “Drip line” means the circle that can be drawn on the ground below a tree, directly under its outermost branch tips.

10. “Exceptional tree” means a tree 30 inches or greater at DBH, excluding cottonwood trees (Populus trichocarpa), white alder (Alnus rhombifolia), red alder (Alnus rubra), and arborvitae (Thuja) genus located outside of undevelopable critical areas and Class 2 landslide hazardous areas.

11. “Heritage tree” means any tree designated by the city council under Chapter 16.66 BLMC.

12. “Landscaping” means trees, shrubs, and groundcover installed or retained to satisfy the requirements of Chapter 16.68 BLMC.

13. “Land disturbing activity” means any activity that results in a change in the existing soil cover (both vegetative and nonvegetative) and/or the existing soil topography. Land disturbing activities include, but are not limited to, clearing, grading, filling, excavation, and mining. Compaction that is associated with stabilization of structures and road construction shall also be considered a land disturbing activity. Vegetation maintenance practices are not considered land disturbing activity. Stormwater facility maintenance is not considered “land disturbing activity” if conducted according to established standards and procedures.

14. “Low impact development (LID)” means a stormwater and land use management strategy that strives to mimic predisturbance hydrologic processes of infiltration, filtration, storage, evaporation and transpiration by emphasizing conservation, use of on-site natural features, site planning, and distributed stormwater management practices that are integrated into a project design.

15. “Nonsignificant tree” means a tree not classified as an exceptional, significant, or heritage tree.

16. “Noxious plant” means all plant species listed by the Pierce County noxious weed control board as noxious, invasive, or of concern.

17. “Open space tract” means a lot that has been preserved as open space and/or park tract as part of a division of land and does not contain any undevelopable critical areas.

18. “Removal” means causing a tree to die by cutting down, digging up, topping, girdling, excessive pruning, root destruction, denial of water, poisoning, or other means.

19. “Root ball” means the main mass of roots at the base of the trunk of a tree.

20. “Shrub” means a plant listed as a shrub in the American Standard for Nursery Stock, Sunset Western Garden Book, or similar authority.

21. “Significant tree” means a tree at least six inches but less than 30 inches at DBH, excluding cottonwood trees (Populus trichocarpa), white alder (Alnus rhombifolia), red alder (Alnus rubra), and arborvitae (Thuja) genus located outside of undevelopable critical areas and Class 2 landslide hazardous areas.

22. “Street tree” means a tree located within the right-of-way of a public or private street.

23. “Suitable planting soil” shall be soil that consists of either:

a. Imported planting media, such as two-way topsoil; or

b. Existing on-site soils, if determined to be acceptable by a licensed landscaping architect consistent with the following requirements:

i. Prior to reusing existing soils, a soil test shall be conducted, and amendments shall be administered consistent with soil test results and recommendations.

ii. Soil samples should be taken from each major planting area, or as approved by the director.

iii. Tests shall be performed by an approved laboratory.

iv. Tests performed shall include, but are not limited to, macronutrient levels (K, P, Ca, and Mg), pH, lime requirements, organic matter content, and soil texture (percent silt, sand, and clay).

24. “Tree” means a large, woody plant having one or several self-supporting stems or trunks and numerous branches and a potential minimum height of 15 feet.

25. “Tree board” means the Bonney Lake planning commission.

26. “Tree grove” means a group of eight or more trees regardless of DBH that form a continuous canopy.

27. “Tree plan” means the city of Bonney Lake street tree master plan.

28. “Tree, small species” means a tree with a mature height of 30 feet or less.

29. “Tree, medium species” means a tree with a mature height between 30 feet and 50 feet.

30. “Tree, large species” means a tree with a mature height of 50 feet or more.

31. “Vegetation” means living plant material including shrubs, groundcover, and nonsignificant trees, but excluding significant and exceptional trees.

32. “Vehicle overhang” means the length of a vehicle which extends two feet beyond the center front axle of the vehicle signified as distance “A” as illustrated in the figure below:

33. “Vehicular use area” means all areas used for parking spaces, driveways, interior roadways and travel lanes, loading areas, fleet vehicle storage areas, and all other areas used and/or accessible for vehicular circulation to include areas blocked by removal bollards or similar device.

34. “Windfirm” means trees able to withstand strong winds; to resist windthrow, windrocking and major breakage due to wind.

35. “Working day” means all calendar days except for Saturdays, Sundays, holidays established by BLMC 2.32.010(A) through (C), and the days between December 25th and January 1st.

36. “Xeriscaping” means a process of landscaping that reduces or eliminates the need for supplemental water from irrigation by selecting plants whose natural requirements are appropriate to the local climate are emphasized and care is taken to avoid losing water to evaporation and runoff. (Ord. 1714 § 19, 2024; Ord. 1688 § 3, 2022; Ord. 1635 § 6, 2020).

16.60.040 Relationship to other environmental regulations.

A. Nothing in the urban forestry code shall infringe or in any way alter the provisions of the shoreline code and/or the critical areas code as set forth now or amended.

B. If and where any conflicts may exist between the provision of this code, shoreline code and/or the critical areas code, the regulations that provide greater protection of the ecological function and habitat shall prevail.

C. Vegetation removal within critical areas shall be governed and reviewed under the critical areas code in addition to the requirements of this code.

D. Vegetation removal within the shoreline jurisdiction shall be governed and reviewed under the shoreline code in addition to the requirements of this code. (Ord. 1635 § 6, 2020).

16.60.050 Timing of permits.

A. On undeveloped sites where development is proposed or anticipated, permits authorized under this code 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. On developed sites, public or private parks, or open space tracts a permit shall be issued after a determination that the application is consistent with the corresponding approval criterion for that permit type.

C. Cutting of trees located within Class 1 and Class 2 landslide hazard areas, if allowed under the critical areas code, shall not occur between October 1st and April 1st unless:

1. A geotechnical engineer determines that the landslide hazard area will not be adversely impacted by the proposed clearing and authorizes the clearing between October 1st and April 1st; and

2. The clearing is required due to an emergency situation involving immediate danger to life or property or the applicant demonstrates compelling justification based on a geotechnical evaluation of the site that the clearing can occur between October 1st and April 1st. (Ord. 1635 § 6, 2020).

16.60.060 Performance bond.

The city may require posting of a bond from an insurance company or assignment of funds to ensure compliance with permit conditions. The director shall determine which method of bonding is required. (Ord. 1635 § 6, 2020).

16.60.070 Maintenance.

A. Whenever landscaping and/or tree retention was required as a condition of development approval under the provisions of the urban forestry code, the property owner must continue to maintain shrubs, trees, and other plants in the landscaping and/or tree retention areas in a healthy, growing condition and replace dead or dying trees, shrubs, and other plants;

B. Trees, plants, shrubs or vegetation may extend over the sidewalk when kept trimmed to a height of nine and one-half feet above sidewalks and 14 feet above a roadway;

C. Failure to maintain landscaping and tree retention areas according to this section shall be a violation subject to the enforcement procedures of Chapter 14.130 BLMC in addition to any replanting requirements required under the urban forestry code. (Ord. 1635 § 6, 2020).

16.60.080 Liability of the city.

Nothing in the urban forestry code shall impose any liability upon the city or relieve any owner or occupant of private property from the responsibility to keep the trees upon said property safe and healthy. (Ord. 1635 § 6, 2020).