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 credits.

16.64.090    Protection measures during construction.

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.

A. Exceptional or significant tree(s) that are apparently dead will be considered for removal as a hazard on a case-by-case basis by the director or designee.

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

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

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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).

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

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

7. 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.

8. 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 16.64.070.

9. 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. 1686 § 12, 2023; 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 how the proposed tree removal complies with the requirements of BLMC 16.64.070(A) and (B); 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. 1686 § 13, 2023; 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 retention and credit requirements of BLMC 16.64.070.

2. Repealed by Ord. 1686.

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 BLMC 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 and credit requirements of BLMC 16.64.070 and 16.64.080.

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. Repealed by Ord. 1686.

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. 1686 § 14, 2023; 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. Exceptional trees shall be retained except as provided below:

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 construction otherwise allowed under BLMC Title 15.

B. Significant trees shall be prioritized for retention as provided below:

1. Repealed by Ord. 1686.

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.

5. 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 significant and exceptional trees shall be credited towards compliance with the tree credit requirements as provided in BLMC 16.64.080.

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 retained trees shall be protected consistent with BLMC 16.64.090.

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. The cost of the third-party arborist consultation shall be paid for by the applicant. (Ord. 1686 § 15, 2023; Ord. 1635 § 8, 2020).

16.64.080 Tree credits.

A. Any tree removal required to obtain a tree removal permit shall provide a minimum of 30 tree credits per acre as calculated in subsection B of this section either through tree retention or a combination of tree retention and supplemental tree planting (with new small, medium, or large tree species) on the site.

B. Tree credit value for each tree, existing or new, is assigned as shown in the following table:



New small species tree


New medium species tree


New large species tree


Preserved tree 6 – 9 caliper inches


Preserved tree 10 – 12 caliper inches


Preserved tree 13 – 15 caliper inches


Preserved tree 16 – 18 caliper inches


Preserved tree 19 – 21 caliper inches


Preserved tree 22 – 24 caliper inches


Preserved tree 25 – 28 caliper inches


Preserved tree 29 – 32 caliper inches


Preserved tree 33 – 36 caliper inches


Preserved tree 37 caliper inches or larger


Example: A 0.22 acre (9,583.2 square feet) lot would need seven tree credits (30 x 0.22 = 6.6, rounded up to 7). The tree credit requirements for the lot could be met by retaining one existing 17-inch tree (seven tree credits) or by planting three new large species trees (two tree credits each) and one new medium species tree (one tree credit).

C. Repealed by Ord. 1686.

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

E. New trees shall be located in the following order of preference listed from the 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. Native trees shall be replaced with trees of the same species and nonnative trees shall be replaced with native species unless the director deems otherwise to result in a better urban forest.

G. New trees shall comply with the planting requirements established in BLMC 16.68.030.

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 may be required as determined by the director 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 for up to 50 percent of the required tree credit 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. Fee provided in lieu of on-site tree replacement shall be determined based on the cost of the new tree(s) to include labor, materials, and maintenance for each replacement tree as determined by the city’s adopted bond quantity worksheet.

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 to 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. 1686 § 16, 2023; Ord. 1635 § 8, 2020).

16.64.090 Protection measures during construction.

Protection measures in this section shall apply for all trees that are to be retained on site and off site.

A. Off-site trees containing drip lines that encroach onto the site under construction shall be considered protected trees unless the applicant obtains written permission from the abutting property owner to remove the off-site trees and it is determined that the tree removal on the abutting property complies with BLMC 16.64.070 and 16.64.080.

B. The following tree protection measures shall apply:

1. The applicant shall erect and maintain a temporary fence corresponding to the critical root zone(s) of the protected tree(s) which shall be inspected prior to commencing with the construction activity. If a tree protection tract or easement is provided, the temporary fencing will be required along the perimeter of the tree protection tract or easement. The temporary tree protection fencing shall not be disturbed, removed, or relocated until the conclusion of construction activities. Protected trees may be fenced individually or in groups of trees. Individual trees shall be fenced on four sides.

2. Signage shall be placed on the tree protection fencing at intervals of no more than 25 feet along the entirety of the protective tree fence. The sign(s) shall be designed, constructed, and installed in accordance with official specifications provided by the director.

3. The applicant may not fill, excavate, stack, or store any equipment, dispose of any materials, supplies or fluids, operate any equipment, or compact the earth in any way within the area defined by the drip line of any tree to be retained.

4. The applicant may not install impervious surface material within the area defined by the drip line of any tree to be retained, unless otherwise approved by the city.

5. The applicant may not install utilities within the area defined by the drip line of any tree to be retained, unless otherwise approved by the city.

6. With the exception of invasive species removal which has received prior written approval from the city, removal of the existing vegetation within the drip line of the retained trees is prohibited during development activities. Native understory trees, shrubs, and other vegetation shall be protected within the designated tree protection area for the duration of the development activities. All areas within the required fencing shall be covered evenly with a minimum of three inches of bark mulch prior to installation of the protective fencing, except in areas where mulch will adversely affect protected ground cover plants.

7. 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.

8. The city may require an ISA certified arborist recommendation prior to any encroachment into the drip line or root systems of the retained trees. (Ord. 1686 § 17, 2023).