Northwest NEWS

June 19, 2000

Local News

'As lovely as a tree'

by Bronwyn Wilson, senior staff reporter

   In a world without trees, Joyce Kilmer would have had to resort to penning his famous poem, "Trees," with these non-rhyming words: "I think I shall never see a poem as lovely as a ... utility pole."

   Fortunately, the world has trees with maples blazing in red and yellow in the fall, and cherry trees brightening early spring in soft pink. Unlike utility poles, trees beautify our surroundings, increase property values by 15%, and help save energy.

   It is the desire of the City of Woodinville to preserve the city's trees and its Northwest woodland character. And for this reason, the City established a Tree Board, a committee designed to form goals and policies to meet the tree preservation goals.

   In September 1999, the City Council adopted new tree regulations forwarded by the Planning Commission and Tree Board. The regulation required a citizen or developer applying for a building permit to preserve or replant trees based on 30 tree-credits. The credits are given per inch according to each tree's diameter.

   The Council agreed with the Commission and Board that existing or new single-family residences on existing lots that predated the City of Woodinville's incorporation should be exempted from the 30 tree-credit requirements. However, for those who have lived on property inside the city prior to Woodinville's incorporation in March 1993 and want to build on it now, the Council adopted a tree preservation incentive program.

   The incentive is based on the tree-credit table provided in the Woodinville Municipal Code. For those who choose to participate, a rebate up to $350 will be given back to the applicant after one year of compliance.

   "In our very first comprehensive plan of the visionary process, the citizens and the community wanted to preserve our Northwest woodland character in the area," said Becky Perkins, Woodinville City Planner. "The trees, plants, and urban forests are an identity piece for the citizens."

   Perkins also explained that the City wants notification whenever someone is planning to cut a tree down. She cites a recent example of a group of trees which were cut down, leaving no wind barrier for the trees behind them. She explains that trees support each other and when the wind blows, there's a domino effect if there isn't a barrier to hold them. In the recent incident, the wind plunged several trees to the ground, having had its barrier suddenly removed.

   The Tree Preservation Incentive will become effective June 24. For further information, call 425-489-2700.