Chapter 2.24
PUBLIC TREES

Sections:

2.24.005    Purpose.

2.24.010    Definitions.

2.24.015    Applicability.

2.24.020    Repealed.

2.24.030    Repealed.

2.24.040    Repealed.

2.24.050    Repealed.

2.24.060    Repealed.

2.24.065    Repealed.

2.24.068    Repealed.

2.24.070    Street tree species to be planted.

2.24.075    Tree care standards manual.

2.24.080    Public tree care.

2.24.085    Emergency tree removal and maintenance.

2.24.090    Tree planting.

2.24.100    Rights-of-way street tree spacing and location requirements.

2.24.110    Measure methods.

2.24.120    Tree pruning and maintenance.

2.24.130    Tree topping.

2.24.140    Tree removal.

2.24.150    Removal of stumps.

2.24.160    Tree protection.

2.24.170    Arborist’s certification and bond.

2.24.180    Penalty.

2.24.190    Variance and appeal process.

Prior legislation: Ords. 103, 140, 207.

2.24.005 Purpose.

The purpose of these regulations is to encourage responsible management of public tree resources within the City of Woodinville in a manner consistent with the goals and policies of the Comprehensive Plan; community urban forestry plan; parks, recreation, and open space plan; and public infrastructure standards and specifications. Because trees growing on public property provide benefits to the greater public at large, they are deserving of a high standard of protection. Proper protection, planting, and maintenance are required to promote tree health and aesthetics, foster species diversity, and to preserve the public tree canopy. Therefore, the purposes of this chapter are to:

(1) Encourage the planting of new trees and the maintenance in public areas of existing trees for all the benefits they provide the community;

(2) Maintain public trees in a healthy and nonhazardous condition through best arboricultural practices;

(3) Manage trees and vegetation on public property in a manner that represents the best interests of the public; and

(4) Encourage a diversity of appropriate species of trees. (Ord. 675 § 2, 2018; Ord. 238 § 1, 1999)

2.24.010 Definitions.

(1) “ANSI” shall mean the American National Standards Institute. ANSI A300 are voluntary industry consensus standards developed by Tree Care Industry Association and written by a committee called the Accredited Standards Committee (ASC).

(2) “Certified arborist” shall mean someone who has passed the International Society of Arboriculture’s extensive certification exam covering all aspects of tree care in addition to the education and experience required to receive the certification.

(3) “City” shall mean the City of Woodinville.

(4) “City Tree Official” shall mean the Development Services Director or his/her designees responsible for implementing the community urban forestry plan and regulations. The City Tree Official shall use the expertise of a certified arborist, under contract by the City, for technical advice on decisions related to the community urban forest.

(5) “Climbing spurs” shall mean sharp, pointed devices affixed to the climber’s legs used to assist in climbing trees (also known as gaffs, hooks, spurs, spikes, and climbers).

(6) “Community urban forest” shall mean the aggregate of public and private trees and plants in the City.

(7) “Community urban forestry plan” shall mean a plan adopted as part of the Comprehensive Plan establishing the goals, policies, and implementation strategies for developing and maintaining the community urban forest within the City of Woodinville.

(8) “Community urban forestry standards” shall mean a set of standards and specifications that includes, at a minimum, provisions for the care, preservation, pruning, planting, replanting, or removal of trees and shrubs in the parks, along public streets and in other public areas of the City, together with development standards for private development projects which require City approval.

(9) “Crown reduction pruning” shall mean the reduction of the top, sides, or individual limbs by the means of removal of the leader or longest portion of a limb to a lateral no less than one-third of the total diameter of the original limb and removing no more than one-quarter of the leaf surface.

(10) “Heritage tree” shall mean a tree or stand of trees that is particularly desirable because it has valued, unique characteristics that set them apart from other similar trees. Valued, unique characteristics include uncommon genus, species, form, size, location, historic significance or other desirable feature(s).

(11) “Public trees and plants” shall mean trees growing on property owned in fee-simple by the City of Woodinville or in public easements such as park trees and plants and street trees and plants.

(12) “Tree and/or plant industry professional” shall mean an individual who has professional experience in the tree and/or plant industry including, but not limited to, arboriculture, landscaping, horticulture, urban forestry or other similar industries. (Ord. 675 § 3, 2018; Ord. 478 § 2, 2009; Ord. 238 § 1, 1999)

2.24.015 Applicability.

The provisions of this chapter shall apply to the planting, maintenance, removal, preservation, and protection of all public trees and plants as defined in this chapter. Planting of trees and plants shall be considered in all City construction and land use projects.

The City Tree Official shall have responsibility for implementing the goals and policies of the community urban forestry plan. All City construction and/or land use projects shall be reviewed and approved for planting, removal, preservation, and protection of public trees and plants by the City Tree Official in conjunction with a certified arborist or other qualified professional. (Ord. 675 § 4, 2018; Ord. 238 § 1, 1999)

2.24.020 Creation and establishment of a City Tree Board.

Repealed by Ord. 675. (Ord. 529 § 1, 2011; Ord. 384 § 1, 2005; Ord. 254 § 1, 2000; Ord. 238 § 1, 1999)

2.24.030 Term of office.

Repealed by Ord. 675. (Ord. 384 § 3, 2005; Ord. 318 § 1, 2002; Ord. 238 § 1, 1999)

2.24.040 Compensation.

Repealed by Ord. 675. (Ord. 238 § 1, 1999)

2.24.050 Duties and responsibilities.

Repealed by Ord. 675. (Ord. 384 § 4, 2005; Ord. 238 § 1, 1999)

2.24.060 Operation.

Repealed by Ord. 675. (Ord. 238 § 1, 1999)

2.24.065 Technical advisors to the Tree Board.

Repealed by Ord. 675. (Ord. 238 § 1, 1999)

2.24.068 Review by City Council.

Repealed by Ord. 675. (Ord. 238 § 1, 1999)

2.24.070 Street tree species to be planted.

The City Tree Official shall be responsible for developing a list of required tree species for Woodinville, including members of small, medium, and large tree varieties. No species other than those included in this list may be planted as street trees without written permission of the City Tree Official. (Ord. 675 § 5, 2018; Ord. 238 § 1, 1999)

2.24.075 Tree care standards manual.

The tree care standards manual previously adopted by the Tree Board pursuant to Ordinance No. 238, adoption of which is ratified by the ordinance codified in this section, shall serve as the City’s adopted and binding tree planting standards, tree protection standards, and tree removal standards. (Ord. 675 § 6, 2018; Ord. 238 § 1, 1999)

2.24.080 Public tree care.

The City shall have the right to plant, prune, maintain and remove trees and plants within the lines of all streets, alleys, avenues, lanes, squares, public grounds, parks, and easements as may be necessary to ensure public safety or to preserve or enhance the symmetry and beauty of such public grounds as determined by the City Tree Official. (Ord. 675 § 7, 2018; Ord. 238 § 1, 1999)

2.24.085 Emergency tree removal and maintenance.

(1) In the event of an emergency as determined by the City Tree Official, all City departments shall have the right to remove or perform maintenance on any public trees and plants or trees and plants on City property right-of-way as necessary to provide public safety.

(2) Utilities may perform tree maintenance or removal without prior authorization only when such actions are necessary to protect the safety of the public or maintain or restore utility service. The utility company must provide written notice to the City within 72 hours of the removal. The notice must include an explanation of the emergency and circumstance for the tree removal. (Ord. 238 § 1, 1999)

2.24.090 Tree planting.

The City shall have the right to regulate the species, installation method, and relative condition of trees located in the City rights-of-way and City-owned property and to cause removal and replacement of unsuitable, damaged, or unhealthy trees. The following regulations apply to planting of trees and plants in the City rights-of-way:

(1) Trees and plants shall be considered for preservation and planting in all City construction and/or land use projects pursuant to tree preservation regulations of Chapter 21.50 WMC. An administrative variance may be granted by the City Tree Official if the preservation requirements interfere with the effectiveness of the public project. Planting alternatives on other public property shall be considered as mitigation for tree loss due to a public project.

(2) Tree planting and protection shall be in accordance with the tree care standards manual.

(3) Private parties may plant trees on property owned by the City with written permission. To obtain permission the applicant(s) shall:

(a) Submit a written request to the City Tree Official a minimum of 30 days prior to planting.

(b) Prepare a tree planting plan identifying the species, size, and location of trees to be planted. The proposed species and locations of trees must be consistent with current and potential future uses of the property as determined by City review pursuant to WMC 2.24.070.

(c) Comply with the current planting standards and City of Woodinville public infrastructure standards and specifications, landscaping plan Section 7, Details 341, 342, and in accordance with the tree care standards manual.

(d) Have underground utilities located and obtain approval from any affected utilities prior to planting.

(4) Any planting of public trees that fails to comply with the standards established in the tree care standards manual, WMC 2.24.075, may be declared a public nuisance and may be abated pursuant to Chapter 1.06 WMC. (Ord. 675 § 8, 2018; Ord. 478 § 2, 2009; Ord. 238 § 1, 1999)

2.24.100 Rights-of-way street tree spacing and location requirements.

Street trees within the right-of-way shall be spaced at an average 25 feet on center, with no less than 15 feet on center and no more than 35 feet on center. At street corners, street trees may be groved. The street trees planting shall be placed to minimize impacts on streets, sidewalks, sewers, overhead utility lines, and pedestrian and vehicular safety. The City Tree Official may authorize modifications to the spacing of street trees which result in a decrease or increase in the standards. Any request for a modification shall involve a consultation with a certified arborist and approval of the City Tree Official and shall be site and species specific. (Ord. 481 § 3, 2009; Ord. 238 § 1, 1999)

2.24.110 Measure methods.

Street tree plantings shall be measured from the point of nearest intersecting curbs or curblines to the nearest point of the tree trunk and parallel to the street. (Ord. 238 § 1, 1999)

2.24.120 Tree pruning and maintenance.

(1) Every owner of any tree overhanging any street or right-of-way within the City shall prune the branches so that such branches shall not obstruct the light from any street lamp or obstruct the view of any street intersection and so that there shall be a clear space of at least eight feet above the surface of the street or sidewalk or clear the sight distance triangle pursuant to WMC 21.22.190. The City Tree Official shall give 30 days’ notice to said owners to remove all dead, diseased or dangerous trees, or broken or decayed limbs are observed which constitute a menace to the safety of the public. If the owner fails to remove the condition constituting a safety hazard, the City shall have the right to prune any tree or shrub on private property when it interferes with the proper spread of light along the street from a street light or interferes with visibility of any traffic control device or sign or otherwise creates a safety hazard.

(2) Private parties may have public trees pruned with written permission from the City Tree Official at the private party’s expense. To obtain permission the applicant(s) shall:

(a) Submit a written request to the City Tree Official a minimum of 30 days prior to pruning;

(b) Identify the trees to be pruned and the specific work to be performed;

(c) Pay for all costs associated with the proposed pruning;

(d) Comply with the pruning standards of the tree care standards manual; and

(e) Provide proof of insurance, bonds, and business or contractor’s license.

(3) The City may prune, spray, or otherwise maintain public trees in order to control infestations of insects or disease or to maintain public safety. Insect and disease abatement shall be in accordance with methods established in the tree care standards manual.

(4) Persons, utilities, or agencies conducting regular maintenance work on trees or shrubs may be granted public tree maintenance permits to cover their work on a yearly basis if all requirements are met according to this section. (Ord. 675 § 9, 2018; Ord. 238 § 1, 1999)

2.24.130 Tree topping.

It shall be unlawful as a normal practice for any person, firm, or City department to top any street tree, park tree, or other tree on public property or in a public easement. “Topping” is defined as the severe cutting back of limbs to stubs larger than three inches in diameter within the tree’s crown to such a degree so as to remove the normal canopy and disfigure the tree. Trees severely damaged by storms or other causes, or certain trees under utility wires or other obstructions where other pruning practices are impractical, may be exempted from this chapter at the determination of the City Tree Official. Trees may be pruned subject to the pruning techniques in Chapter 21.50 WMC. (Ord. 481 § 3, 2009; Ord. 238 § 1, 1999)

2.24.140 Tree removal.

The City may remove any public tree determined to be a hazardous or dangerous tree by the City Tree Official. Tree removal shall comply with the following regulations:

(1) All tree removal and/or tree pruning works on public property shall be performed by a licensed, bonded, and insured contractor, pursuant to WMC 2.24.170.

(2) No City trees shall be cut down, killed, or removed for any reason without complying with the following public tree removal process:

(a) File an application with the Development Services Department;

(b) Secure a permit for tree removal;

(c) Trees shall be replaced to mitigate the loss of the removed tree(s) equal to one tree credit in accordance with the replacement table of WMC 21.50.060.

(3) A tree removal permit is required to be obtained prior to the removal of any City tree by a private party. A permit shall be approved only when one or more of the following conditions exist as determined by City staff:

(a) The tree is infected with an epidemic insect or disease for which removal is the recommended practice to prevent transmission to other trees;

(b) The tree poses a public nuisance;

(c) The tree poses a safety hazard that pruning, transplanting, or other treatments cannot correct;

(d) The tree severely interferes with the growth and development of a more desirable tree;

(e) Required infrastructure work or improvements would kill the tree or render it a hazard/danger and no other alternative is feasible;

(f) Removal of the tree is necessary to implement or maintain a vegetation management plan for the area, as approved by the City;

(g) Removal of the tree(s) is necessary to provide the only reasonable access to adjacent private property.

(4) Mitigation is required if a public tree is removed, injured, or otherwise damaged by a private party. The mitigation value shall be calculated by the City or qualified representative using the formula outlined in the most recent edition of the “Guide for Plant Appraisal,” published by the International Society of Arboriculture, or other comparable source authorized by the Planning Director. Current calculated timber, pulpwood, or cordwood values will not be acceptable mitigation values for public trees. The mitigation value shall be paid into the City tree account as established in WMC 21.50.040 or the City will require a replacement to be installed in accordance with the regulations and standards set forth for public trees. All or a portion of this mitigation may be met by planting replacement trees on or off site as determined by the City.

(5) A vegetation management plan is required when a private party requests the removal of a public tree. The applicant shall develop and implement a vegetation management plan for the property. The applicant shall be required to pay all costs associated with the development and implementation of such plan.

(a) The plan shall ensure:

(i) Protection of slopes and soil stability on the property in accordance with applicable codes and standards;

(ii) Protection of critical areas as defined in Chapter 21.51 WMC, Critical Areas;

(iii) Protection of heritage trees or trees identified as significant;

(iv) City maintenance costs for the property are maintained at or below the current levels; and

(v) Compliance with all applicable Federal, State, and local regulations.

(b) The plan should consider:

(i) Wildlife habitat enhancement;

(ii) Species diversity; and

(iii) Aesthetics.

The City may require that the vegetation management plan be prepared by qualified professionals as deemed necessary. (Ord. 675 § 10, 2018; Ord. 478 § 2, 2009; Ord. 347 § 12, 2003; Ord. 238 § 1, 1999)

2.24.150 Removal of stumps.

All stumps of street and park trees shall be removed below the surface of the ground so that the top of the stump shall not project above the surface of the ground. Stump removal methods shall be in accordance with the tree care standards manual. (Ord. 238 § 1, 1999)

2.24.160 Tree protection.

(1) Authorization must be given by the City Tree Official before anyone:

(a) Attaches or installs any metal materials, cables, wires or other objects foreign to the natural structure of public trees;

(b) Excavates into the root zone within the drip line of a public tree;

(c) Treats the soil within the root zone of a public tree with a soil sterilant.

(2) No person shall abuse, destroy, or mutilate any public tree. This includes breaking stakes or supports to the tree, or causing or encouraging any burning near or around the trunk. No person shall deface or injure a public tree by attaching any sign or notice, nails, screws, or other such devices to it.

(3) Public trees shall be protected at all times during construction in accordance with the tree protection standards stated in the tree care standards manual.

(4) Violation of tree protection regulations for public trees shall be subject to WMC 2.24.180. (Ord. 238 § 1, 1999)

2.24.170 Arborist’s certification and bond.

(1) It shall be unlawful for any person or firm to engage in the business or occupation of pruning or treating public trees within the City without first obtaining a certification from the International Society of Arboriculture; provided, however, that any public service company or City employee doing such work in the pursuit of their public service endeavors shall perform said work under the direction of a certified arborist. The person or firm conducting tree work shall also possess evidence of liability insurance in the minimum amounts of $500,000 for bodily injury and $1,000,000 property damage resulting from the pursuit of such endeavors as herein described.

(2) No person or firm may cut, prune or treat street trees without express authorization of the City. (Ord. 238 § 1, 1999)

2.24.180 Penalty.

In accordance with enforcement regulations in Chapter 1.06 WMC, any person violating these provisions shall be subject to civil penalties, pursuant to Chapter 21.50 WMC. For violations related to tree removal or tree damage, each tree shall be considered a separate violation. (Ord. 481 § 3, 2009; Ord. 238 § 1, 1999)

2.24.190 Variance and appeal process.

The administrative process for variance and appeals shall be as follows:

(1) A written request shall be submitted to the City Tree Official providing a detailed explanation of the variance request.

(2) The request shall provide at least one alternative to the variance request.

(3) The City Tree Official shall meet with the applicable City departments to decide the variance request.

(4) The City Tree Official shall provide a written decision to the applicant and applicable City departments within 21 days of the date of request.

(5) The decision may be appealed to the Hearing Examiner pursuant to Chapter 21.85 WMC. (Ord. 675 § 11, 2018; Ord. 238 § 1, 1999)