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City Council - Agenda     
Monday, February 04, 2002

Call To Order

Mayor Alan Merkle called the meeting to order at 7:35 pm in the Council Chambers of City Hall, 9611 SE 36th Street, Mercer Island, Washington.

 

Roll Call

City Councilmembers Susan Blake, Bryan Cairns, Sven Goldmanis, Dan Grausz, El Jahncke, Jim Pearman, and Mayor Alan Merkle were present.

 

Special Business

Mayor Merkle proclaimed Tuesday, February 12, 2002 to be Arts Day in the City of Mercer Island. He encouraged all citizens and cultural and educational organizations to join in participating in and supporting the cultural riches the community has to offer.

Appearances

Geoff Swarts, 8501 SE 61st Street, on behalf of the MI Youth Soccer Club and the Eastside Football Club asked Council to work with the School Board on the High School field/stadium for community use.

Minutes

It was moved by Councilmember Cairns; seconded by Councilmember Goldmanis to:

Approve the minutes of the Regular Meeting of January 22, 2002, as amended:

Page 2, Open Council Discussion, “Mayor Merkle invited Councilmembers to call or email any issues that they would like to have on the agenda for the Council Retreat. He also encouraged Councilmembers to talk with Rhonda HilyardHilyer individually regarding the issues before the retreat.”


The Chair put the question on the motion; Motion Passed 7-0.

Consent Calendar
Payables: $ 837,353.70  
Payrolls: $ 401,143.13

It was moved by Councilmember Jahncke; seconded by Councilmember Blake to:

Approve the Consent Calendar and the recommendations contained therein.

The Chair put the question on the motion; Motion Passed 7-0.

Regular Business

AB 3637 Public Hearing: Tree Ordinance

City Attorney Londi Lindell gave a brief overview of the history and current status of the Tree Ordinance. Ms. Lindell described the exhibits of the agenda bill and definitions of certain terms.

The Mayor opened the Public Hearing:

Robert Wiley, 4211 Holly Lane, feels that the City Council should make decisions in appeals not the Planning Commission.

Orm Sherwood, 7444, West Mercer Way, supports the passage of the tree ordinance, reinstating the pruning of trees on public property and CCNR’s protection.

Donald McLaren, 4910 East Mercer Way, believes the tree ordinance places a burden on people who have trees on critical areas when it should work to preserve the tree cover on MI.

Marcia Dawson, 8812 SE 77th Place, endorses the Planning Commission’s decision to not allow pruning for view.

Jeff Beckwith, Puget Sound Energy, understands the need to protect critical areas and asks that if topping is the only option, then consider an exemption for PSE.

Amy Tousley, Puget Sound Energy, would like to have trees to be planted within a 15’ radius of utility lines reviewed by the City first.

B. David Williams, 3453 74th Place SE, is in favor of the tree ordinance. He is concerned about the clarity regarding pruning of trees on public property by private citizens and the granting of waivers in critical areas. He feels only one City official should make the decisions.

Cynthia Howe, 6 Holly Lane, is pleased that the Planning Commission deleted the pruning of trees on public property by private citizens. She believes that the seasonal limitations are confused with the seasonal development limitations.

June Lindsey, 8405 West Mercer Way, is glad the replacement tree section is more relaxed, but argues that term “small tree” should be better defined.

T. K. Jones, 6405 West Mercer Way, questions the critical areas and steep slopes.

Mary Ellen Grimes, 7036 West Mercer Way, addressed the quality of the maintenance of trees on public right-of-way.

William Friend, 5904 SE 20th Street, concerned that the City does not have a timeline for responding to permit applications.

Jim Owens, 8012 SE 71st Street, commended the Council on continuing with the tree ordinance. He also does not support the pruning of public trees by private citizens.

Eldon Howard, 4817 Forest Ave SE, believes that enforcements may be tough for private citizens.

Bruce Becker, 2535 68th Ave SE, questions the science of the 30% slope. And stated that trees neither help nor hurt steep slopes.

Ira Appelman, 6213 83rd Place SE, believes the slope should be considered at the base of the tree only and only those trees actually on a slope. He believes that the penalties are beyond overkill and that staff has too much power on determining replacement ratio.

Dave Raymond, 4160 95th Place SE, believes the current draft brings order and sense to all the previous drafts.

Ann Parvin, 4138 94th Ave SE, asked for clarification on the definitions of small and large trees.

Alan Ruesch, 4518 91st Ave SE, believes that some basic science has been thrown out regarding slopes. He also asked where the 30% slope came from.

David Hurlbut, 7809 SE 42nd Street, stated that after a slide on his property, an expert geologist did not think planting trees was needed.

Pauline Reed, 7725 Ridgecrest Lane, urged the Council to trust the citizens and not regulate any more than needed.

Helen Crinean, 7835 SE 42nd Street, stated that she resents the City coming onto private property and telling citizens what to do. She also stated that it’s the City’s fault for letting big homes be built on small lots. Jim Luckman, 9234 SE 70th Place, believes the Council needs to revisit the penalty phase in the regulations.

Phil Flash, 3005 69th Ave SE, asked the Council how all the requirements could not create additional expenditures.

Steve Bryan, 2426 70th Ave SE, stated that the ordinance is a vast improvement. It is no longer written to preserve the canopy, but rather to preserve the island’s ecosystem.

Robert Kessler, 4438 Ferncroft Road, questioned the science for the calculations in the tree ordinance, but supports it.

Karl Forsgaard, 3866 81st Ave SE, stated that trees need to be regulated and that this tree ordinance is a significant improvement.

Bill Chapman, 7703 Ridgecrest Lane, urged the Council to focus on passing the whole ordinance and not just the amendments.

The Mayor closed the Public Hearing.

It was moved by Councilmember Blake; seconded by Councilmember Jahncke to:

Approve Ordinance No. 02C-01, the Proposed Tree Regulations.


It was moved by Councilmember Goldmanis; seconded by Councilmember Blake to:

At 19.10.040, (B) Trees on Private Property:

1.3. it is necessary to enable any person to satisfy the terms and conditions of any covenant, condition or other restriction encumbering the lot that was recorded on or before December 1, 2001;

3. 4. it is part of the city’s forest management program or regular tree maintenance program and the city is the applicant;


The Chair put the question on the motion; Motion Passed 7-0.


It was moved by Councilmember Jahncke; seconded by Councilmember Goldmanis to:

At 19.10.040, (B) Trees on Private Property:

4. 5. the permit seeks to cut one of the following common, short-lived “weedy” tree species: Alder, Bitter Cherry, or Black Cottonwood, and Big Leaf Maple; or

5. 6. it is desirable for the enhancement of the ecosystem or slope stability based upon professional reports in form and content acceptable to the city arborist.


The Chair put the question on the motion; Motion Failed 2-5 (Proponents of the motion, Councilmembers Goldmanis and Jahncke).


It was moved by Councilmember Grausz; seconded by Councilmember Jahncke to:

At 19.10.020, (A) No Permit Requirements:

3. Size of Tree. No tree permit is required to cut any small tree in a commercial zone.

At 19.10.020, (B) Permit Required:

1. Construction Work. A tree permit is required to cut any large tree as a result of construction work.

3. Critical Tree Area. A tree permit is required to cut any large tree located in a critical tree area.

At 19.16.010, Definitions:

Large (regulated) tree: Any conifer tree that is eightsix feet (8’)(6’) tall or more or any deciduous tree with a diameter of more than six inches (6”).

Small (regulated) tree: Any conifer tree that is less than eightsix feet (8’)(6’) tall or any deciduous tree with a diameter of more than six inches (6”).


The Chair put the question on the motion; Motion Passed 7-0.


It was moved by Councilmember Grausz; seconded by Councilmember Jahncke to:

At 19.10.60, Tree Replacement:

A. Location. If the application covers a critical tree area, the replacement trees shall be planted on the same property if the city arborist determines that such location is necessary to protect the critical tree area. In all other cases, the owner may elect to either plant the replacement trees on the owner’s property or on any other private or public property, with such private or public property owner’s consent.


The Chair put the question on the motion; Motion Failed 2-5 (Proponents of the motion, Councilmembers Grausz and Jahncke).


It was moved by Councilmember Grausz; seconded by Councilmember Goldmanis to:

At 19.10.60, Tree Replacement:

E. Replacement Trees - Number. In making a determination regarding the number of replacement trees required, the city arborist shall apply a replacement ratio based on a sliding scale of 0-11-1 up to 5-14-1, depending upon the criteria in the following priority order:


The Chair put the question on the motion; Motion Failed 2-5 (Proponents of the motion, Councilmembers Grausz and Jahncke).


It was moved by Councilmember Jahncke; seconded by Councilmember Goldmanis to:

At 19.10.60, Tree Replacement:

E. Replacement Trees - Number. In making a determination regarding the number of replacement trees required, the city arborist shall apply a replacement ratio based on a sliding scale of 0-1 up to 5-14-1, depending upon the criteria in the following priority order:


The Chair put the question on the motion; Motion Passed 7-0.


It was moved by Councilmember Cairns; seconded by Councilmember Blake to:

At 19.16.010, Definitions:

Protected slope area: Any area within a 40 foot radius of the base of the subject tree if the greatest slope within the area equals or exceeds 30% if there is any point within that area that is at least twelve feet (12’) higher or lower than the base of the tree.


The Chair put the question on the motion; Motion Passed 6-1 (Mayor Merkle dissenting).


It was moved by Councilmember Grausz; seconded by Councilmember Blake to:

19.10.010, Purpose:

These regulations are adopted to promote the public health, safety, and general welfare of the citizens of Mercer Island, in order to including minimizeing erosion, siltation and water pollution in Lake Washington, surface water and ground water runoff, risks of slides, and the need for additional storm drainage facilities; preserveing trees for the reduction of noise, wind protection, slope stabilization, animal habitat, and reduction in air pollution; removeing diseased or hazardous trees; implementing the city’s comprehensive plan; designateing and preserveing historical trees; and provideing for the delivery of reliable utility service, reasonable development of property and reasonable preservation or enhancement of property views.


The Chair put the question on the motion; Motion Passed 6-1 (Councilmember Jahncke dissenting).


It was moved by Councilmember Blake; seconded by Councilmember Goldmanis to:

19.10.040, (A) Trees on Public Property:

2. By Private Property Owners. A private property owner may request the pruning of a public tree located on any city street if the owner demonstrates in the following order that all of the criteria are satisfied:

a. the applicant establishes that the tree is located on a city street;

b. the applicant submits a valid petition executed by at least sixty percent (60%) of the property owners located within a three hundred foot (300') radius of the subject tree in favor of the proposed pruning of the tree;

c, the city arborist determines that the proposed pruning can be performed without adversely affecting any critical tree areas;

d. the applicant pays a fee to cover all costs associated with reviewing the pruning request; and

e. the pruning is performed by the City at the sole cost and expense of the requesting property owner.


The Chair put the question on the motion; Motion Passed 4-3 (Mayor Merkle and Councilmembers Pearman and Cairns dissenting).


It was moved by Councilmember Merkle; seconded by Councilmember Blake to:

Ordinance 02c-01, Add New Section:

Report/Analysis. City staff shall present a report to the City Council within twelve (12) months from the effective date of this ordinance. Staff shall perform an analysis of the implementation impacts of this ordinance and report to the City Council on such impacts.


The Chair put the question on the motion; Motion Passed 7-0.


It was moved by Councilmember Jahncke; seconded by Councilmember Goldmanis to:

At 19.16.010, Definitions:

Vegetative cover: All significant vegetation (excluding exotic and invasive species) in a critical tree area, the existence or loss of which will have a material impact on the critical tree area.


The Chair put the question on the motion; Motion Passed 7-0.


It was moved by Councilmember Jahncke; seconded by Councilmember Goldmanis to:

At 19.16.010, Definitions:

Cut or Cutting: The intentional cutting of a tree to the ground (excluding acts of nature), any practice or act which is likely to result in the death of or significant damage to the tree or any other removal of a part of a tree that does not qualify as pruning.


The Chair put the question on the motion; Motion Failed 1-6 (Proponent of motion, Councilmember Jahncke).

Council discussed Councilmember Jahncke’s proposal to include: 19.10.090, Nuisance Abatement (B)(3)(g) “Any vegetation planted within 15 feet of overhead utility lines must be approved by the City and an electrical utility arborist” as proposed by Puget Sound Engery. No action was taken.

It was moved by Councilmember Grausz; seconded by Councilmember Jahncke to:

At 19.10.020, Permit Requirements:

A. Permit Requirements for Private Property Owners. Whether or not a tree permit is required by a private property owner or the owner’s agent to cut or prune trees on the owner’s property shall be determined as follows:

1. Pruning. No tree permit is required to prune any tree.

2. Small Tree. No tree permit is required to cut any small tree.

3. Certain Large Trees – No Permit Required. No tree permit is required to cut any large tree unless the tree is a landmark tree, in a landmark grove, in a critical tree area, in a commercial zone, or that is being cut as the result of construction work.

4. Certain Large Trees – Permit Required. A tree permit is required to cut any large tree that is a landmark tree, that is in a landmark grove, that is in a critical tree area, that is in a commercial zone, or that is being that is being cut as the result of construction work.

B. Permit Requirements for the City. The provisions of 19.10.020(A)(1) – (4) shall also apply in determining whether or not a tree permit is required by the City to cut or prune trees on public property.

C. Permit and Other Requirements for Private Utility Companies. Whether or not a tree permit is required by a private utility company to cut or prune trees and the additional requirements applicable to a private utility company shall be determined as follows:

1. Pruning. No tree permit is required to prune any tree except that any pruning shall only be performed under the supervision of a certified arborist, at the sole cost and expense of the private utility company [and after notice thereof is given to the City].

2. Small or Large Tree. A tree permit is required to cut any small tree or large tree. Any cutting shall only be performed under the supervision of a certified arborist and at the sole cost and expense of the private utility company.

D. Cutting or Pruning on Public Property. Private property owners are prohibited from cutting or pruning any tree on public property.

E. Emergency. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this Section 19.10.020, a tree may be cut without a tree permit in an emergency situation involving immediate danger to life or property so long as the city arborist is notified within 7 days of the tree having been cut, is provided such additional information as the city arborist requests in order to verify the emergency and a tree permit is obtained within 20 days following the cutting of the tree if a tree permit is required under this Section.


The Chair put the question on the motion; Motion Failed 3-4 (Proponents of motion, Goldmanis, Grausz, and Jahncke).

The Chair put the question on the main motion; Motion Passed 7-0.

 

Open Council Discussion
(See Councilmember Reports)

 

Other Business

Councilmember Absences: Pearman to be absent March 4, 2002.

Planning Schedule: Regular Meeting of February 19, 2002 to be cancelled.
Special meeting for Affordable Housing Workshop TBD.

Board Appointments: None.

Councilmember Reports: None.

Adjournment: 12:55 am, Tuesday, February 5, 2002

[Important Note: The proceedings of the City Council meeting were recorded on tape and are filed in the City Clerk's Office. The complete agenda and official minutes of this meeting are also filed in the City Clerk's office.]

 

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