Chapter 16.64


16.64.010    Tree canopy preservation.

16.64.020    Prohibited activities.

16.64.030    Exemptions.

16.64.040    Hazard trees.

16.64.050    Tree removal permit.

16.64.060    Tree permit decision criteria.

16.64.070    Tree retention.

16.64.080    Tree replacement.

16.64.010 Tree canopy preservation.

A. Unless exempted in BLMC 16.64.030 or 16.64.040, a tree removal permit is required for the removal of trees within the city of Bonney Lake. A permit shall not be issued for any prohibited activity identified in BLMC 16.64.020.

B. Trees planted within any public parking strip or street right-of-way shall comply with the tree plan.

C. Tree removal within undevelopable critical areas and Class 2 landslide hazard areas and associated buffers shall also comply with the critical areas code and BLMC 16.60.050(C).

D. Tree removal shall within the shoreline jurisdiction shall also comply with the shoreline code and BLMC 16.60.050(C). (Ord. 1635 § 8, 2020).

16.64.020 Prohibited activities.

The following activities are prohibited:

A. Destroying, injuring, or defacing a significant or exceptional tree including but not limited to the following:

1. Pouring any toxic material on any tree or on the ground near any tree;

2. Attaching any sign, poster, notice or other object on any tree, or fastening any guy wire, cable, rope, nails, screws or other device to any tree except to support young or broken trees; and except that the city may tie temporary signs or banners associated with street improvement, parades, seasonal lighting, or other city activities;

3. Causing or encouraging any fire or burning near or around the base of the tree; and/or

4. Harming the tree by cutting the bark or branches with a knife, hatchet, saw, or similar object.

B. Topping any tree or pruning a tree in a manner that creates an unbalanced canopy.

C. Planting trees or shrubs in or abutting any public parking strip, street right-of-way, or any other public place in the city, including sidewalks, without permission of the city.

D. Planting anywhere on city property or rights-of-way any willow, cottonwood, poplar, and any other trees the roots of which are likely to obstruct or injure sanitary sewers or other underground utilities, except as approved by the city in accordance with a city-approved plan or project. (Ord. 1641 § 8, 2020; Ord. 1635 § 8, 2020).

16.64.030 Exemptions.

The following activities are exempt from the requirement to obtain a tree removal permit and do not require a written approval before work is commenced:

A. Removal of any nonsignificant tree outside of an undevelopable critical area, Class 2 landslide hazard area and associated buffers, tree retention area, and/or the shoreline jurisdiction;

B. Removal of any nonsignificant tree not installed to comply with the landscaping requirements of Chapter 16.68 BLMC;

C. Removal of trees in utility public rights-of-way and public easements upon approval of a right-of-way permit;

D. Removal of trees located within clear view triangles;

E. Removal of trees grown for sale at commercial nurseries or tree farms; or

F. Minor pruning or thinning of trees; provided, that such activity is consistent with the following requirements:

1. The selective removal of branches in the inner crown of the tree, provided no more than 25 percent of a tree’s leaf-bearing crown is removed. An even distribution of interior small branches and foliage on remaining limbs shall be maintained to avoid over-thinning;

2. Work involving the removal of more than 25 percent of a tree’s crown mass shall demonstrate that the removal is necessary for the clearance of electrical distribution and service lines only;

3. The removal of the lower branches of a tree; provided, that the height of the pruned portion shall not exceed one-third of the total tree height and that removal of branches from the lower portion shall not exceed 25 percent of the tree’s leaf-bearing crown; and

4. Mature and old-growth trees are more susceptible to permanent damage or death from pruning. Pruning of mature trees should only be done as a corrective or preventative measure, such as the removal of decayed, rubbing, or crowded branches. (Ord. 1635 § 8, 2020).

16.64.040 Hazard trees.

The removal of hazard, dying, or dead exceptional, heritage or significant tree(s) shall comply with the following:

A. Prior to commencing with the removal the owner shall obtain a written authorization from the city.

B. The property owner shall provide the city with a report, prepared by a tree risk assessment qualified (TRAQ) ISA certified arborist, documenting that the tree has a high or extreme risk and no other mitigation measures will reduce the risk below high.

C. The assessment shall be consistent with the most recent addition of the ISA Tree Risk Assessment Manual and American National Standards Institute (ANSI) A300 (Part 9) – 2017 Tree Risk Assessment a. Tree Failure.

D. Removal of exceptional or significant tree(s) located within an undevelopable critical area or a Class 2 landslide hazard area and associated buffer shall also comply with the provisions of BLMC 16.20.070(B)(4).

E. Removal of exceptional or significant tree(s) located within the shoreline jurisdiction shall also comply with the provisions of BLMC 16.56.060.

F. Removal of a heritage tree shall comply with BLMC 16.66.040.

G. Removal of exceptional or significant trees deemed to be a hazard that are located within a tree retention area shall be replaced at 50 percent of the replacement ratios established in BLMC 16.64.080.

H. 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 16.64.080.

I. In cases where an exceptional or significant tree(s) was damaged by a natural disaster or other acts of nature, the provisions of this section may be waived to the extent necessary to alleviate immediate hazards. (Ord. 1635 § 8, 2020).

16.64.050 Tree removal permit.

In order to apply for a tree removal permit the following information shall be submitted to the city:

A. Tree removal permit application form.

B. Application fee as determined in BLMC 3.68.050.

C. A project narrative that shall include:

1. A time schedule for tree removal activities;

2. An explanation of the erosion control measures that will be implemented; and

3. An explanation of how trees to be retained will be protected during clearing and construction.

D. A site plan with a date and north arrow drawn at a minimum scale of one inch equals 20 feet displaying the following information below, as required to accurately reflect the proposed project:

1. Property boundary lines, existing lots, tracts, utility or access easements and streets;

2. Existing and proposed improvements including structures, driveways, utilities, and storm drainage facilities;

3. Location of exceptional, heritage and/or significant trees with notes as to their species and size; and

4. All natural features including topography (two-foot intervals), wetlands, steep slopes, streams, bodies of water, etc.

E. Identification of best management practices and measures that will be employed to prevent erosion. (Ord. 1635 § 8, 2020).

16.64.060 Tree permit decision criteria.

A. When no new development is proposed or anticipated on a developed site, public and private parks, and/or designated open space tract and the tree removal is not exempt under BLMC 16.64.030 or 16.64.040, approval of a tree removal permit shall be based on compliance with the following:

1. Tree removal shall comply with the tree replacement requirements of BLMC 16.64.080.

2. Removal of exceptional trees shall comply with the requirements of BLMC 16.64.070(D).

3. Trees to be removed shall be completed in a manner as to protect retained trees.

4. Trees to be retained shall comply with the requirements of 16.64.070(F).

5. Removal of trees within jurisdiction of the shoreline code shall comply with the requirements of the shoreline code.

6. Removal of trees within critical areas shall comply with the requirements of the critical areas code.

B. For tree removal on sites where new development is proposed or anticipated, approval of a tree removal permit shall be based on compliance with the following:

1. Site grading, improvements, and utility construction shall be designed and located to retain trees during and following construction.

2. The proposal shall comply with the tree retention requirements of BLMC 16.64.070.

3. Trees shall not be removed outside the area of land disturbance except where necessary to install site improvements.

4. Tree removal for the purposes of site landscaping shall be limited to those trees that will pose a future hazard to existing or proposed site improvements determined consistent with the requirements of BLMC 16.64.040.

5. Tree removal shall comply with the tree replacement requirements of BLMC 16.64.080.

6. Removal of trees within jurisdiction of the shoreline code shall comply with the requirements of the shoreline code.

7. Removal of trees within undevelopable critical areas shall comply with the requirements of the critical areas code.

C. On undeveloped sites, other than parks and designated open space tracts, where no development is proposed and the tree removal is not exempt under BLMC 16.64.030 or 16.64.040, approval of a tree removal permit shall be based on compliance with the requirements of Chapter 222-34 WAC. (Ord. 1635 § 8, 2020).

16.64.070 Tree retention.

Development shall be designed to minimize the removal of significant and exceptional trees and maximize on-site tree retention consistent with the following:

A. The following trees shall be prioritized for retention:

1. Exceptional trees.

2. Trees with a diameter of more than 24 inches.

3. Other significant trees that either:

a. Have a greater likelihood of longevity; or

b. Are part of a tree grove.

4. The city may require that trees be retained in partial fulfillment of landscaping requirements.

B. Priority should be given to the retention of perimeter trees that are windfirm and tree groves.

C. Any trees retained or replaced in landscape buffers required by Chapter 16.68 BLMC shall count toward fulfillment of said buffer requirements.

D. Retained exceptional trees shall be credited towards compliance with the replacement requirements as provided in BLMC 16.64.080(C) and shall only be removed in the following circumstances:

1. Retention of an exceptional tree(s) will result in an unavoidable hazardous situation consistent with the standards established in BLMC 16.64.040; or

2. Retention of an exceptional tree(s) will prevent creation of a residential lot through a subdivision or short subdivision that is otherwise allowed by this title.

E. Tree retention areas may be required to be placed in a conservation tract or conservation easement, the purpose of which is to set aside and protect the area. The conservation tract or conservation easement shall be:

1. Held by the city, the property owner, a homeowner’s association, a land trust or similar conservation organization, or by each lot owner within the development in an undivided interest;

2. Recorded on all documents of title of record for the affected parcels;

3. Noted on the face of any plat, short plat or recorded drawing; and

4. Delineated on the ground with permanent markers and signs in accordance with local survey standards. The outer edge of the retention area shall be signed to protect the resource. The director shall specify the design and sign message.

F. During construction the following measures will be taken to protect retained trees:

1. An area corresponding to the critical root zone(s) of the protected tree(s) shall be fenced with temporary fence, which shall be inspected prior to commencing with the construction activity.

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

3. 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 city may require a retaining wall when cuts or fills would impact more than 20 percent of the root system of a protected tree. The city may require tunneling of utilities to protect roots.

G. If any tree to be retained is removed, said tree shall be replaced pursuant to BLMC 16.64.080.

H. The director may consult an arborist on tree retention. (Ord. 1635 § 8, 2020).

16.64.080 Tree replacement.

A. The following replacement ratios shall apply:


Number of 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 to 9 inches



10 to 14 inches



15 to 19 inches



More than 19 inches



B. The following root volume multipliers shall be used in determining compliance with subsection A of this section:


Root volume multiplier for replacement trees1

Root volume2

For species small when mature such as most ornamental trees

For species large when mature and preferably coniferous, such as Douglas fir, western red cedar, and western hemlock

200 – 300



300 – 500



500 – 600



600 – 800



800 – 1,000



1,000 – 1,200



1,200 – 1,500




1.    The root volume multiplier is used to determine if partial, full, or additional credit is given for a replacement tree. For example, a small ornamental replacement tree planted in 250 cubic feet of soil would count as a 0.5 replacement tree. Another example would be a small ornamental replacement tree planted in 625 cubic feet of soil would count toward 1.5 replacement trees.

2.    Root volume is based on cubic feet of soil. A cubic foot of soil assumes a maximum planting soil depth of 30 inches. Should more than 30 inches of soil be proposed, aeration, moisture, and nutrients to full planting depth must be demonstrated.

C. Trees retained during development shall count toward tree replacement. Retained trees shall count toward tree replacement at the following ratios:



8 to 12 inches


12 to 18 inches


18 to 24 inches


24 to 30 inches


More than 30 inches


D. The city may require that the applicant contract with an arborist to ensure successful tree replacement.

E. Replacement trees shall be located in the following order of preference listed from most important to least important:

1. On-site replacement adjacent to or within undevelopable critical areas if the planting will result in a net environmental benefit. Planting within an undevelopable critical area shall be reviewed and permitted under the provisions of the critical areas code.

2. On-site replacement outside of undevelopable critical areas, adjacent to other retained trees making a grove or stand of trees.

3. On-site replacement within landscaping areas.

4. On-site replacement in other areas.

F. Replacement tree species shall be planted in locations and via methods that are conducive to their survival, and shall primarily be those species native to the Pacific Northwest. Native trees shall be replaced with trees of the same species and non-native trees shall be replaced with native species unless the director deems otherwise to result in a better urban forest.

G. Replacement trees shall comply with the following at the time of planting:

1. Coniferous trees shall be at least six feet tall.

2. Deciduous trees shall be at least two inches in caliper.

H. The applicant shall monitor all replacement trees for a period of five years after planting. The applicant shall be obligated to replant any replacement tree that dies, becomes diseased, or is removed during this five-year monitoring period.

I. Financial guarantees in the form of assignment funds shall be provided to ensure the success of replacement trees required pursuant to this chapter.

J. In lieu of planting the required replacement trees, the city may allow the payment of a fee-in-lieu under the following:

1. The city determines that:

a. There is insufficient area on the lot or adjacent right-of-way for proposed on-site tree replacement to meet the tree replacement requirements of this chapter; or

b. Tree replacement, preservation, management provided off site will be of greater benefit to the community.

2. Fees provided in lieu of on-site tree replacement shall be determined based upon:

a. The expected tree replacement cost including labor, materials, and maintenance for each replacement tree; and

b. The most current Council of Tree and Landscaper Appraisers Guide for Plant Appraisal.

3. Any fee-in-lieu is optional for the applicant and requires an explicit written agreement.

4. Fees collected under this provision shall be placed in an urban forestry account within the park capital improvement project fund and utilized to purchase trees to be planted in the city or purchase open space to preserve tree canopy. Any unexpended funds remaining in the urban forestry account at the end of a budget period shall not be transferred to the general fund or otherwise lapse, but funds shall be carried forward from year to year until expended for a purpose set forth above. (Ord. 1635 § 8, 2020).