On July 29, Mercer Island’s updated Critical Areas Code took full effect, after a full year of updating. The rules are used to regulate development in wetlands, steep slopes, landslide hazard areas and buffers — with the intent of mitigating harm.
The state requires that the city update its Critical Areas Ordinance and Shoreline Master Plan periodically, ensuring the latest science is used, and that the rules don’t contradict current land use policies.
In the Critical Areas Code are new rules surrounding the removal of trees, outside of a proposed construction or subdivision.
According to the final and adopted version of the Critical Areas Code, when tree removal not associated with a development proposal happens outside of wetlands, and other critical areas, the trees that are removed should be replaced.
When tree removal not associated with a development proposal happens within wetlands and other critical areas, the new rules dictate that the tree must either be determined to be a hazard, documented to be diseased or the tree will enhance ecosystem functions and values, or promote slope stability.
Additionally, a restoration plan — one prepared by a qualified professional — must be submitted and contain: analysis demonstrating the ecological functions and values, a proposed removal of noxious weeds and removed trees “shown as made into snags at a safe height.”
For more information, go online to http://bit.ly/2KtCadc.