[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, written by a verified resident. It does not necessarily reflect the opinions of The B-Town Blog, nor its staff:]

Dear Mayor Matta and City Councilmembers,

I have read with interest the letters to The B-Town Blog re: the clearing of a large tract on Maplewild/SW 156th Street in Burien.

I go down Maplewild regularly and I was astonished to see the huge clearcut, with mature trees felled (see photos below).

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: 'I was astonished to see the huge clearcut...' 1

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: 'I was astonished to see the huge clearcut...' 2

I have some questions I would like the City to answer:

1. How was this project allowed to proceed when Burien has a tree retention code? (Burien Municipal Code 19.25.020 Purpose. 4.). 19.25.020 Purpose:

“The purpose of this chapter is to provide minimum standards for tree retention and landscaping to foster a healthy and attractive community; to maintain a positive community image; to improve the aesthetic quality of the built environment; to enhance quality of life; to protect and enhance property values; to promote retention and protection of existing vegetation; to reduce the impacts of development on drainage systems and natural habitats; to absorb wind and noise; to enhance air quality; to increase compatibility between different land uses; and to increase privacy for and within residential zones by retaining existing vegetation and significant trees by incorporating them into the site design; …”

2. Was there any sort of environmental impact statement submitted to the City? This clearcut, in a drainage ravine with critical slopes, exposes great risk of runoff, mud slides, etc.

3. Why were there no land use permit signs soliciting comments from neighbors posted on Maplewild? Why were there no meetings with the neighbors to disclose plans? These neighbors will be heavily impacted with mud slides and any other adverse effects by the removal of so many trees.

4. Did the property owner or project manager pay for and secure arborists’ reports and tree pruning/removal permits for each tree they sought to remove? What were the total fees paid for the more than 100 trees removed? Is there a replanting plan in place as remediation for this clearcutting?

Not only has Burien been a Tree City, U.S.A. for years, but it is also a community that holds protecting its environment in high regard. We are also committed to addressing climate change and know the critical role trees play.Burien has immense potential, but we need to safeguard our resources for the benefit of future generations. As citizens and taxpayers we expect our City government to do its job in upholding these stated environmental values. This Maplewild clearcut demonstrates a failure to do that.

 I ask for a public accounting of what went wrong here and how you will repair the damage and what you will do to prevent similar devastation in the future.

I would appreciate a written response to my written letter.

Thank you.

Sincerely,


Sybil Davis DeRoux

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