No tree cutting planned on private land near airport despite concerns, Port says


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By Jack Mayne

The Port of Seattle is starting the removal and replanting efforts for over-height trees next week only in two Port-owned locations south of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and not on private property as some have worried.

One concern is that the owner of Hillgrove Cemetery near Sea-Tac Airport on S. 200th Street had given the Port tree cutting approval, but airport spokesman Perry Cooper says the Port has yet to reach the owner so no activity is planned immediately.

Replanting on Port owned property previously cleared will start in October and the Port plans to have a replanting project sometime later this fall.

Low growing forest
After consultation with area residents, the Port said it had adjusted its approach to remove “only existing obstructions” and it would preserve “to the extent feasible,” all other trees and vegetation on the two sites.

Replanting work will re-establish a low-growing forest on-site with a neighborhood vegetation barrier and restore a tall-growing native forest just south of both sites.  A key part of the approach will be to replace the invasive understory with native shrubs where possible.

Most over-height conifers are located within the Port properties are along South 200th Street in SeaTac sites adjacent to or near residential properties.

Because this will be an active construction zone, the Port says it will install fencing and signage ahead of the start of the project.

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Comments

One Response to “No tree cutting planned on private land near airport despite concerns, Port says”
  1. Steve Edmiston says:

    Jack Mayne – at one of the tree-related Port meetings I asked what budget the Port had set aside for acquiring the rights to remove trees from private property. I pointed out that there is plenty of case law establishing the commercial value of large tree removal and that I assumed the Port was not intending to take advantage of uninformed property owners by seeking to obtain the rights for free (perhaps based on guilt – i.e., “it’s for safety”). Safety is a critical – the critical – reason but that has no bearing on making it free. (Does Boeing provide safety engineering for free?) I also suggested the Port could create an atmosphere of trust around this issue by making their program for compensating private property owners public information, so that no one property owner would be, or could be, taken advantage of. Finally, I suggested the Port adopt a most favored nations approach with property owners so that no one property owner is in the position that by agreeing to removal, that property owner is disadvantaged because a later property owner receive a better deal (perhaps because they hired a lawyer). I pointed out that these rationale applied to the neighbor city trees as well. The response to these questions and suggestions at the meeting? They said they hadn’t worked that part out yet. Worth an ask in a follow up story if they are truly talking with a private landowner now.

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