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City to fine homeowner for tree removal

Posted by Geeky Swedes on January 29th, 2010

Tree removal crews cut down a large Monkey Puzzle tree at the corner of NW 60th and 9th Ave. last week. Today, Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development tells My Ballard that they’re preparing to fine the homeowners for removing an “exceptional tree” without a permit.

An exceptional tree is defined “by virtue of its size, species, condition, cultural or historic importance, age, and/or contribution as part of grove of trees,” explains the city rule (.pdf). In this case, a Monkey Puzzle tree is exceptional if it measures over 1 foot 10 inches in diameter at 4.5 feet above the ground.

“We’re anticipating a violation,” said Alan Justad, Deputy Director of DPD, explaining that the removal required a permit. “They needed to go through the approval process.” Justad says the fine will be based on the estimated market value of the tree, which he expects may total “several thousand dollars” for a tree that size, although the final amount is still being calculated. Fines also typically involve a restoration requirement, he said.

Some neighbors were disappointed in the new homeowner’s decision to take down one of the largest Monkey Puzzle trees in the city, while others supported the move, explaining the tree was in danger of damaging the house.

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  • 7 Getaname // Apr 14, 2015 at 8:15 pm

    I so hope that we have a way to transplant a grown tree from a “tree-hater’s” yard to a “tree lover’s” property. I wondered, how many of the ppl who screaming to “fine the homeowner big time!” here has ACTUALLY need to deal with tree problems in their properties. I guess it’s easier to advocate keeping trees in other’s yard than having it in ones own.

    I hate to be called a tree hater. I really do. I could see that trees are great, but they belong to forests, parks, and even side-walks. I could see that and also because these are the public land, it was not my business to concern. I also wondered why I don’t see as much large trees in the city center? Say 4th and Pike? If trees were all that great?

    Even if there were, again, I would probably LOVE them since I don’t LIVE there. I recently got a house, which is nice with a decent size yard. But let me tell you that I haven’t had a single thought about being able to use my yard since it was so dark shading by big, tall pine trees. I have to pay for property tax for a lot I couldn’t use. And I need to pay extra attentions to the roof and gutter because pine needles were falling all the time and moss growing rapidly. And mind you, during windy day/night my family was not ease because who knows if one of them would fall into our house (one of my neighbor’s had fallen last year into our yard, almost hit our house). And not to mention that during spring while people are planting beautiful flowers and fruit trees and all we could do is envy. As a homeowner paying for property tax as you do, should I be entitled no rights to dream about having a more variety, color garden like you do?

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