Because a lot of judges and lawyers and execs chop down PUBLIC trees and pretend they're "theirs".

No permit - No tree cutting.

Don't like it? Move to Idaho.
Cutting down any tree with a trunk wider than three inches at shoulder height should be punished by death.
I'll cut down what ever the hell I want on my property without asking thank you very much.

That said, I sure wish my property had more trees. Not enough shade in the summertime.
Need one in Bothell, WA.

Had a massive wind storm hit the area, this is 1983. Tree fell down, crashed through our neighbors fence and blocked a pathway to get to the elementary school.

Our neighbor reported this, then waited 3 days, nobody showed up, so he hired someone to cut it up, he kept the wood, then hired the guy to fix his fence. Neighbor was fined by the city (25$?) for not having a tree cutting permit.
there is no such thing as a private tree. aummmmm.
It's a contentious issue. I can see both sides of the argument.

On one hand, trees - even on private property - and other plants are part of a collective landscape that we all share. On the street I grew up in (In Burien), there are four gigantic chestnut trees in front of an old farmhouse - the oldest house in town, in fact. People from all around would collect the fallen chestnuts, and I remember riding my bike over the spiky shells every Autumn.

On the other hand, can you legitimately deny the rights of a property owner? Especially in cases like this, where it's not a matter of public safety, but aesthetics? A few years before I left for college, the old woman who owned that farmhouse died, and the property was auctioned off to someone else - I still don't know who, they don't live there permanently. Those old chestnuts, as big as they are, block the view of that house. Now, I don't think they'd cut the trees down - they're pretty and all - but should it be their right to do so, if they wanted?

I honestly don't know. It's an issue that doesn't have a right or wrong answer.
my tree permit will look awesome next to my fireworks permit
I've got a right to do whatever the fuck I want to do with my property, while it's on my property. If that includes shooting my TV set with a 12-gauge because I think Glee sucks, so be it. It's none of the damned government's business.
@8 using firearms inside Seattle boundaries is a crime.

This is why Dexter uses knives.
It's perfectly legal here, Will. You should move to someplace civilized.
Tree cover affects drainage, and drainage is ABSOLUTELY within the purview of the government. Water rights are one of the key reasons we HAVE governments here in the West. For instance, you probably didn't know that it's technically illegal to have a rain barrel on your property, because the water rights to that water belong to the people downstream from you. Yes, even in Colorado, and everywhere in the West (though in Seattle, unlike Denver, the city has received a waiver from the state that protects you from prosecution).
@6 I really like your reasoned approach, but "aesthetics" doesn't properly describe the reasons for dictating tree preservation. It's not like we're saying "you need to keep that tree because I think it's pretty." It's more about history, the local wildlife, ecosystem, and ability of future generations to enjoy it too. We have such a broad variety of species here in Seattle, and especially for the rare ones, we should have some form of protection for keeping it that way.
A good argument, Fnarf, but you're understandably not 100% up on Colorado law. That was changed last year - you can use a rain barrel here now.
It's absolute BS.

There is no tree problem.
@12 I'm not disagreeing with you, and you're right, it's not just about the trees being pretty.

But I can totally understand the point of view of the property owners, too. If they own that land, shouldn't they be able to do with it what they want? For example, if someone is trying to sell their home, and they want to increase the selling value by cutting down a tree for a better view, then the city saying they can't do it is basically taking money out of their pocket.

Like I said, a very difficult issue.
I think that the appropriate answer is yes*. The asterisk being exceptions given for the health of the tree and overall danger to the property/landscape. I shouldn't need to get a permit to remove a tree that is beginning to take root under my house or adjacent to my water line, for example, and if a tree is badly diseased I should be allowed to remove it without a permit penalty.
@16, that's what permits are FOR. You can do it if those conditions pertain, which the permit process verifies. Otherwise, every jerk in town's going to go with "oh, it was diseased".
How does cutting down a tree disrupt anything any more than planting a new one would? Do you propose that people should need a permit for that too?

Stuipid fucking argument.
My property, my tree, my axe. None of your business.

You don't want a tree cut down? You can buy your own lot and keep all the trees you want.
You can buy unincorporated acreage out in the backcountry for pennies on the dollar what you pay for the same area in a dense city. I can't believe anybody would be dumb enough to spend so much extra for city land without knowing up front that cities regulate what property owners can and can't do. It seems possible to be dumb enough to buy without knowing what you're buying. Lots of dumb people exist. But if they're that dumb, how can they be smart enough to make enough money to afford city property?

It's a big contradiction and I don't believe it. Everybody who owns property in a city expects to be regulated. They *want* to be regulated; they're paying through the nose for the privilege to live surrounded by neighboring properties that are also regulated.

Land with neighbors who can do any damn thing they want is dirt cheap for a reason.
Oh Seattle, please please keep a permitting system for tree removal. Please. In fact, please tighten the restrictions.
I wouldn't touch this issue with a 10-foot chainsaw on a pole, but while we're talking about rain barrels, can I mention that they SUCK? Waste of perfectly good plastic in most cases. And I've worked in this field. The problem is that they're way, way too small.
we in the suburbs mock you. i cut down a diseased magnolia and a blue spruce that pissed me off last year, and didn't have to ask anybody for permission. hell, my neighbors would love me if i cut down my big maple that covers everybody's yard with leaves every fall. i won't cut it down, because i love to piss off my grass nazi neighbors.
Should you need a permit to cut down a tree in an urban area?


Because you live in an urban area, it isn't just your tree. If you cut it down, that affects your neighbors too - it affects their view and their property values, and it worsens the whole city's Urban Heat Island. You want total sovereignty over the land you technically own? Go live in the boonies! Cities have stringent regulations because they are so dense that you can't do very many things without affecting other people. It's only out where people are spread far apart that you can cut down your trees, shoot animals on your property, and have a noisy party at 3am without pissing off your neighbors.
What's more, large trees cannot be replaced in a short timeframe. They have huge aesthetic and environmental benefits to a neighborhood and the city as a whole. Cutting them down just because you want to do something different with your backyard is a moral crime even if it is not a legal crime.
Sounds like what we really need is education on why the urban tree canopy is very important. Cutting down a mature tree isn't just a loss of a tree. It's a loss of air and water quality, a loss of a barrier between the wind and sun and our homes - making the city less temperate. When you chop down a tree on "your property", it's often been there for decades - much longer than you have, and it provides benefits to all of the homes around you. The loss is a detraction to the entire neighborhood. Sort of like a vacant lot or a non-working junk vehicle on a lawn; hacking up a mature tree is an eyesore and a detraction for the whole neighborhood.

Removing diseased or damaged trees is another matter. But that is a matter that should be determined and handled by a skilled and certified arborist. Not just some idiot with a chainsaw.

Also note that a mature tree increases property value, and it costs to have a tree removed. So everytime someone hacks down a perfectly good mature tree, they are paying to decrease their property value and make their neighborhood uglier.
Why, with all these restrictions, would I want to plant trees on my property? Don't you folks realize that if this passes people will stop planting trees? How do you answer that problem? These types of ordinances are not green at all, just the opposite.

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