LETTER: ‘City Manager is Unaware there is a Tree Pruning & Cutting Permit Process’


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Letter to the Editor –

In a final touch of levity, I would like to discuss the most recent articles about how the Burien City Manager went to the North Highline Unincorporated Council and told them once again that Burien has no tree pruning or cutting permits. The White Center Now Blog quotes him as saying,” Asked about claims that annexation would bring more bureaucracy to simple acts like cutting a tree at a person’s own home, another point annexation opponents have cited, Martin declared it “consummate b******t.”

Perhaps the City Manager is unaware that there is a tree pruning and cutting permit process in his city and so he claims it will not add another level of bureaucracy to the lives of the citizens in Area Y.

So here are some parts from that tree removal/pruning permit that Mike Martin/Burien City Manager claims doesn’t exist. Enjoy reading this.

Just this permit process is a reason for voting against joining Burien. By the way, there is a permit fee for pruning and cutting the tree under this process.

– Debi Wagner

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Significant Tree
Removal/Pruning
Handout
The City of Burien recognizes the significant role that the natural environment plays in creating a healthy and attractive community. Trees, landscaping and open space all contribute to a positive community image. Two sections of the Burien Municipal Code (BMC) apply to tree retention and removal. Section 19.25.120 contains requirements for retention of significant trees on vacant lots and section 19.40 applies to all properties containing a “critical area” (steep slope, seismic hazard area, erosion hazard area, stream or wetland). The following are frequently asked questions about tree retention in Burien.
General Questions
Q: WHAT IS A SIGNIFICANT TREE?
A: A significant tree is an existing healthy tree which, when measured four feet above grade, has a minimum diameter of 8 inches for evergreen trees, or 12 inches for deciduous trees. (BMC 19.10.493)
Q. HOW DO I SHOW THE LOCATION OF SIGNIFICANT TREES ON MY PLANS?
A. All significant trees on your property must be shown on your site plan. The accurate location of the trees, approximate size (in diameter) and tree species must be shown. The plan also needs to show which trees you’ll save and which trees you’ll remove. (BMC 19.25.130)
Q. HOW DO I PROTECT SIGNIFICANT TREES DURING CONSTRUCTION?
A. A temporary but immovable five-foot high chain link or plastic net fence must be installed around the “dripline,” or farthest extent of the tree’s branches, of all significant trees to be saved. Due to potential damage to the tree, no construction, fill, excavation or storage of construction materials is allowed inside of the dripline. (BMC 19.25.150)
Q. HOW DO I FIND AN ARBORIST?
A. You may contract with the City for use of the City’s consulting arborist, or you may hire your own arborist. A list of consulting arborists can be found at www.pnwisa.org.
Tree Retention in Critical Areas and their Buffers
Q. DO I NEED A PERMIT TO REMOVE OR PRUNE A TREE IN A CRITICAL AREA OR ITS BUFFER?
A. Yes. If your property contains a “critical area” (such as steep slopes, streams or wetlands), permits are required to remove or prune a tree in a critical area or its buffer. (Right-of-way permits are required to remove or prune any tree located in the right-of-way.) To remove a tree, you will need to submit a vegetation management plan and permit application to the Department of Community Development for review. We recommend contracting with a certified arborist or experienced tree service when pruning trees to ensure the tree’s long-term health.
Q. DO I NEED A PERMIT TO ALTER THE VEGETATION IN A CRITICAL AREA OR ITS BUFFER (e.g. REMOVE GROUND COVER, PRUNE OR REMOVE TREES OR SHRUBS)?
A. Generally, yes. Significant alterations that may affect the critical area require permits. Please contact a planner for additional questions.
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Q. CAN I REMOVE DEAD, DISEASED OR DANGEROUS TREES?
A. Yes, a permit and vegetation management plan are required to remove a dead, diseased, or dangerous tree(s). The City requires a report from a qualified professional attesting to the health of the tree.
Q. WHAT IS A VEGETATION MANAGEMENT PLAN?
A. A vegetation management plan identifies the proposed clearing limits for the project and any areas where vegetation in a critical area or its buffer is proposed to be disturbed. The plan should describe the methods of any work to be completed. The plan should also address any alternative methods of attaining your goal and explain how the proposed activity will not be detrimental to surrounding properties and to the functions and values of the associated critical area.

Tree Retention in Non-Critical Areas
Q. DO I NEED A PERMIT TO REMOVE A SIGNIFICANT TREE IN A NON-CRITICAL AREA?
A. For undeveloped/vacant lots tree removal is not permitted until time of development. When developing your lot, you will need to submit a tree retention site plan to the Department of Community Development for review (see attached sample site plan).
For developed, private lots tree removal and pruning are allowed without a permit.
For removal and pruning of ANY trees in the right-of-way, a right-of-way permit is required.
Q: HOW MANY SIGNIFICANT TREES DO I NEED TO SAVE WHEN DEVELOPING MY PROPERTY?
A: The amount of trees required to be retained depends on the type of development and the zoning of neighboring properties (BMC 19.25.120).
Q. WHAT IF I CAN’T SAVE ALL OF THE TREES I AM REQUIRED TO SAVE?
A. You may plant new trees to compensate for the removal of significant trees (BMC 19.25.160). Replacement trees also must be shown on the site plan. Please discuss these requirements with a planner at (206) 241-4647.
Q. WHAT IS A TREE RETENTION PLAN?
A. A tree retention plan identifies the location, size and species of all significant trees on the site, and shows which significant trees are proposed to be retained, transplanted or restored. The plan should also include a description of how the work is to be completed. There is a fee for review of this plan.
Tree Retention in Non-Critical Areas
Q. DO I NEED A PERMIT TO REMOVE A SIGNIFICANT TREE IN A NON-CRITICAL AREA?
A. For undeveloped/vacant lots tree removal is not permitted until time of development. When developing your lot, you will need to submit a tree retention site plan to the Department of Community Development for review (see attached sample site plan).
For developed, private lots tree removal and pruning are allowed without a permit.
For removal and pruning of ANY trees in the right-of-way, a right-of-way permit is required.
Q: HOW MANY SIGNIFICANT TREES DO I NEED TO SAVE WHEN DEVELOPING MY PROPERTY?
A: The amount of trees required to be retained depends on the type of development and the zoning of neighboring properties (BMC 19.25.120).
Q. WHAT IF I CAN’T SAVE ALL OF THE TREES I AM REQUIRED TO SAVE?
A. You may plant new trees to compensate for the removal of significant trees (BMC 19.25.160). Replacement trees also must be shown on the site plan. Please discuss these requirements with a planner at (206) 241-4647.
Q. WHAT IS A TREE RETENTION PLAN?
A. A tree retention plan identifies the location, size and species of all significant trees on the site, and shows which significant trees are proposed to be retained, transplanted or restored. The plan should also include a description of how the work is to be completed. There is a fee for review of this plan.

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Comments

31 Responses to “LETTER: ‘City Manager is Unaware there is a Tree Pruning & Cutting Permit Process’”
  1. Joey Martinez says:

    Mrs Wagner, you and your group have been telling everyone they will need a permit to cut/prune any tree for any reason as evidenced by Mr LeMoine’s Youtube video. Copied/Pasted from your own article – “For developed, private lots tree removal and pruning are allowed without a permit.”

    I support and agree with a permit being needed on a critical slope. If the wrong tree goes down in a critical area that hill could slide – endangering lives.

    As an environmentalist you fough hard to protect trees during the 3rd runway expansion. I am a bit surprised on your push against trees.

    J.Martinez

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    • Eaton B. Verz says:

      Hey Joey, just FYI. I hired a tree service to remove a tree in my yard. Halfway through the city’s Code Enforcement person showed up (said he heard the chainsaw) and made them stop work and go to city hall and get a permit to continue. Real life, buddy…Eaton

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    • Debi Wagner says:

      I would like to say I did fight during the third runway era to save trees, but truth be told I was too busy trying to help people save their homes, get agencies to test the air, get the SDOPH to tell us why cancer rates were so high and get politicians like you to give a hoot. And I will say it again, I like trees! Now now do I hear laughter?

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    • elizabeth2 says:

      Joey – As an older person who has seen a great deal more than you, here is a friendly piece of advice.

      If you EVER want to think about running for office again, learn to mind your manners and your words.

      Whether you agree or disagree, whether someone’s statements are correct or incorrect, if you address issues politely and without personal attacks and smarmy words, people will be more impressed reading what you write..over and over and over again.

      You are your words and your words are often not nice. If I did not know you, I would not be inclined to ever vote for you because you do not bear yourself well.

      If you never want to run again, then ignore my advice.

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  2. John Poitras says:

    Joey.. I am curious .. How did you jump to the conclusion that Debbie was pushing against trees?
    I see no connection between what she posted and your statement ?

    The point is a PERMIT is required in many cases to prune trees or remove them (as there should be) . You would think that Mr Martin as city manager would be aware of his own ordinances..

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    • Joey Martinez says:

      Mr Poitras, WCN did a good recap of the story however HLT\WSH had full coverage WITH rebuttals from Independent White Center.

      http://www.highlinetimes.com/2012/11/03/news/burien-city-manager-thanks-nhuac-support-annexa-0

      Under “Other issues” is the full text of the crux of this Letter to the Editor. It was explained that permits are only needed in critical areas – something you and I agree on (correct?).

      Joey Martinez

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      • John Poitras says:

        Yes we do agree on this issue Joey… Also I hope we agree that high density apartments are not a good idea to put up in our Town Square?

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      • elizabeth2 says:

        Joey – Just so that you understand that ad nauseum quoting of rules and regs doesn’t make it so, especially in Burien.

        A neighbor was removing a clearly dead large tree from the front of his property. Seen by some officious City of Burien employee driving by, he was ordered to stop removal of the tree until he obtained a permit to remove a tree..

        In explaining to the Burien official that the tree was clearly dead, the neighbor was informed by the official that he (the official) was not an arborist and could not make that declaration, the neighbor replied that the official may not have been an arborist, but that he clearly was stupid as the evergreen tree was brown and dried.

        Needless to say the neighbor was ordered to stop, proceed to Town Hall to get the permit, pay MORE MONEY for something truly stupid, and then proceed.

        Rules or not that is how this city is run. So please stop quoting rules and regs that Burien clearly ignores, join the real world and understand that this city if run by a handful of power hungry people who make their own rules.

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        • Joey Martinez says:

          Elizibeth2 and Eaton, not knowing where you live I can’t comment accurately. Knowing you like your anonimity I won’t ask. Also not knowing the tree condition or location the tree was in I can’t comment either. I do hope all rules were followed by all parties. Cutting down the wrong tree in a critical area has caused catastrophic slides.

          Mr Poitras, I am not in favor of the apartments as you describe them. However, since most of the relevent details are still locked in Executive Session I don’t think we can make a decision yet. We can tell the council what we do and don’t want, however. Assuming what is going on in Executive Session is, in my opinion, premature.

          The extension to the negotiation with Harbor Urban has passed unanimously 7-0, by the way.

          Joey Martinez

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          • Coverofnight says:

            If Joey Moretaxes is in a forest, does it still make a sound? Of course, the man won’t stop talking and spouting circular NON-ANSWERS to people’s comments/inquiries!

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  3. Neil says:

    Yah Joey, how did you come to the conclusion that Debi hates trees. You will say anything to protect your DADDY- Mike Martin.

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  4. Barbara Dobkin says:

    Debi, I do not want you to forget my request for the names of the individuals from the agencies that you claim I met with who informed you that on behalf of NHUAC I requested they stay neutral on annexation. You can provide the information in one of your letters to the editor or just a comment. I look forward to your response.

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    • Debi Wagner says:

      This is the first I’ve heard of this request. When and how was your previous request made?

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    • mago says:

      This is so irrelevant. Writing an email to here would have been much more cordial. Blasting it on a widely seen blog…. not so much.

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      • Barbara Dobkin says:

        Do you really want to talk about what is relevant or not – Ms. Wagner as well as Chestine Edgar made public statements – claims about some things I said to certain groups and individuals in this community, and I am interested to know who these people are who would make false statements. I think it is reasonable for me to know so I can contact these individuals. I think this information should be made public, just like their claims. For some reason, they do not want to respond – so I take it as they have no answer.

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  5. Burienite says:

    BTB, what is going on here? While I’m obviously not for stifling opinions and comments from readers, it seems Debi Wagner gets a disproportionate amount of “sceen exposure” on this blog. The constant barage of what is essentially hate mail against the City of Burien and their officials becomes old and tiresome, and does little to properly inform the citizenry in a balanced way.

    It just seems like there’s an unbalanced tendancy by the BTB to post anything from individuals who want to rail against the City of Burien–especially when it comes to repeated letters about annexation, et al.

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    • Burienite –

      The way our commenting systems works is that, once someone has posted before, their comment (if it doesn’t include profanity or links) gets automatically posted.

      This is more a process of “squeaky wheels” rather than any bias towards approving pro or anti-city comments (which we don’t have).

      We strive to be as fair and neutral as possible, but we can’t control who submits comments. Oftentimes it’s those who are more dissatisfied with something that tend to comment more – something that’s true on just about every news website that allows commenting.

      thanks,
      scott schaefer
      founder/publisher

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    • Flashdog says:

      Since today (election day) is the day when “every vote counts”, I will say that I vote for Debi Wagner. I like her letters very much. They are full of interesting and well documented facts. I learn things every time I read something from her. Thank you, Debi!

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    • John Poitras says:

      Burienite : How do you feel about Mike Martins plan to put high density apartments in our Town Square?

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      • Burienite says:

        Totally against it. However I was never sold on the planned configuration of the entire Town Square concept. It seemed unlikely that they would get enough people to buy all those condos (in phase-1 or any of the other subsequent phases). From my vantage point, building to what amounts to TOD (Transit Orientated Development) isn’t going to cut it. The focus should have been more on the retail component (for which there is very little) instead of the condo component.

        I do think there can be a case for SOME apartments, but not an entire phase of just all apartments. Bad idea.

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        • John Poitras says:

          Burienite.. I agree..

          It would be cool to have something like Kent Commons which would definitely revitalize the downtown area.. Failing that just about anything other than apartments >>>even a Burien Central Park..
          I am sure that there are a lot of creative people that could come up with great suggestions if the Council would do their job and require the city manager to solicit input from the residents.

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      • Huh? says:

        I’ve seen many successful developments with townhouses or row houses with retail shops incorporated in the plans.

        This apartment style complex for the condos seems like another low income housing project.

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  6. Joe Wills says:

    I think Debbie Wagner is telling it like it is ! What I have found out and observed is that there are two sets of rules. Ones for friends of Mike Martin and the other set for everyone else.

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  7. Barbara Dobkin says:

    Debi, you can find it on your post about NHUAC,,,,and I would like you to respond with the names,,,again, I look forward to getting this information…

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  8. Brad T says:

    First of all Debbie I am glad you quoted the permit section thanks for that and Mr. Martin I want you to know I was in that video stated my name loud and clear my voice will not be ignored or quelled and if we will not be heard in the meetings we will find ways of get the info out to the people you better believe that.
    @ Joey come on down and try to bully me young man anytime you feel frogeye just jump, your nothing more than a two face mini me version of Mike Martin and believe me you will go down with the ship bet on it even if it does take three years. There is plenty more dirt to burry you with in the court of public opinion. You have taken enough rope and already hung yourself to the people for being such a kiss butt staunch supporter of Mr. Martin’s like it or not ignore the public’s wants style of management. I have spoken to so many people about you and Mr. Martin and the general opinion is you’re down the road with the rest of them and not soon enough. I don’t think you’re a horrible person but I do think you lack moral fiber and have a plastic feel about you when it comes to talking to people your very easy to see thru, you act so cavalier in the way you speak to people or I should say speak down to people who don’t agree with your mini me Mike Martins opinions. Shame on you your days are numbered the time to pay the piper is just around the corner. Let me say I wish to be first to slap that donkey on the ass caring you right out of town! Your response in attacking Mrs. Wagner for posting proof of Mike Martins bold face lie’s is nothing more then you running once again to aid Mike Martin by standing in for his beleaguering ignorance. I am always here if you want to chat face to face about any of these issues and you will find I am a reasonable person as long as the facts are on the table. First of all you don’t save any face showing up on here with your generalized log of bull pucky. It’s just another poorly thought out response to yet another city ordinance that you guys overlook and don’t want to come clean about until it’s flat in your face and that’s why this annexation will not go through! People are not as stupid as you might think and a cheeky comment again and again only shows more of your true colors. Maybe before your and you’re constituents spout off about how the rainbows will always be out & the sun will always be shinning you should sit down with these people and be honest and go over the seven new taxes and how much they will affect them personally. By the way when I say personally I mean with there current bills on hand and the worksheet provided and by provided I mean the one provided by Burien! Really its so ridicules we have to be extra clear about everything for fear our words will be turned around and de rail yet again in an elementary fashion just to put up yet more drama before the truth can be heard. This is the only way they can see that figure with there own eyes and decide for themselves, I have to admit I love seeing them do the math and watch there jaw drop! The anger just gets better when they double check the math. I would also suggest you should read and verse yourself in your cities own rules laws and permitting structure and educate yourself as well as Mike Martin before he makes even a bigger buffoon of himself and his constituents. I proudly voted No on Annexation and will continue to educate people as needed. Thank you all for your time and efforts in keeping this annexation from going thru at this point in time.

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  9. feral dog says:

    Wow, this thread sure got off track in a hurry..
    They wanted WAY to much money for them piece-of-s*%t condos anyways.
    Since we are at it, how about them Seahawks? *lol*

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    • elizabeth2 says:

      Now that is something worth discussing off track! Russell Wilson, what a quarterback. A great import from Virginia. He is welcome here anyday.

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