January 24, 2000
WOODINVILLE--The Woodinville City Council is conducting an ongoing discussion on how far to extend the eligibility boundaries for Tree Board applicants. The terms of two Tree Board members--Karen Steeb and Jim Erickson--end January 31. Not enough qualified applicants have responded to City ads seeking replacements since Oct. 18.
The current municipal code requires that at least three of the five Tree Board members be city residents. Of the three residents, one must be a certified arborist and two must be plant industry professionals.
In their Jan. 17 study session, the Council entertained the idea that a lack of qualified applicants who live within city limits might cause them to extend recruitment borders, to accept applications from more qualified people outside city limits. That would also require amending the current code to include more than two non-residents. City staff have proposed extending the borders to 124th Ave. on the west, NE 124th St. on the south, Avondale Rd. NE on the east and Woodinville-Duvall Rd. on the north.
"I favor changing our ads to include people like the Monroe arborist who works in Woodinville," said Deputy Mayor Marsha Engel. "I used to have Crystal Lake neighbors who considered themselves Woodinville residents--their kids go to Woodinville schools--despite the 'imaginary boundary' of the Snohomish County border."
"I think it's very important that Tree Board members have good plant knowledge--more important than the city residency qualification," said councilmember Carol Bogue. "When I was a Tree Board member, I had the least plant knowledge (despite being a resident). I think we should also ask the current Tree Board members their opinion."
Several councilmembers agreed that some applications from non-resident Woodinville Garden Club members should be considered. Councilmember Don Brocha also favored recruiting outside city limits, and Barbara Solberg favored limiting Tree Board inclusion to one non-resident.
"I think it's appropriate to extend invitations to Garden Club members," said Bob Miller. "It's a natural extension to the interest they have shown in the city. They've put a lot of time and energy into beautifying Woodinville."
Mayor Randy Ransom summarized the consensus to initially accept the city staff recommendation to extend recruiting borders. If that doesn't net enough qualified applicants in the next month, the Council could extend those borders further, said Ransom.