I was born and raised in Edmonds. At 10 years old, a trip to the AM/PM for an overcooked hot dog was pure joy. At 16, a job at Anthony’s Beach Cafe provided freedom and independence. I may have led you to your table or fumbled while opening your wine. I looked on in amazement as, day after day and year after year, the “Edmonds Beach Temperature Taker Guy” waded in the water, in his cut-off jean shorts; rain, snow, sleet or hail. As an experienced beachgoer, I can only imagine this to be in part, a daily meditation ritual.
Spending my childhood taking in our gorgeous surroundings of land and sea in Edmonds, is why I’ve never been able to move away from the Pacific Northwest.
In the Fall of 2014, my husband and I decided to purchase a home in Edmonds, to raise our family. The home that we ultimately bid on was minutes away from where I grew up, had space for kids to play, walking distance to the beach and a peek-a-boo view of the water. We were truly shocked when our offer was accepted. The man selling his home had lived in downtown Edmonds for over 40 years and was thrilled to see new life breathed into his home. A young family moving in, brought it full circle.
We’ve lived in this house for over 6 years and while we are thankful to have the potential of a water view, we have had a challenge maintaining it. What is or isn’t allowed to be pruned back, changes year over year. Our neighbors own the trees, and the conversation. The anxiety creeps in every summer as our view starts to disappear, the branches and leaves creeping in and up. Each winter I hope our request to prune their trees, is met with approval. Fingers crossed we can have another year to share with our kids, the ferries, tugboats, cruise ships, sailboats, mountains and sea-life, that visit us on the glistening horizon.
If you have a water view in Edmonds, it’s luck of the draw if you get to keep it, and it depends on who lives next door.
In a time when so much of our life is divisive, I got to thinking; does this conversation have to be tree-lovers vs. view-lovers? Does it have to be tense? Is Edmonds ready to evolve into a symbiotic relationship where trees are valued and enjoyed as part of our view, and the connection to water is valued, and enjoyed as part of our view?
Edmonds is a thriving city, robust with economic stimulus we wish for all cities; maintained parks, roads, a city center full of dining and shopping. Young families moving here every day to continue the rejuvenation.
We cannot pretend that increased canopy growth and a substantial number of new trees will need to exist for our children and grandchildren to inherit a beautiful world. It is in fact vital, and our city is doing a phenomenal job addressing this.
On July 16, 2019, Edmonds City Council adopted the “Urban Forest Management Plan”, which is described as primarily focusing on “managing trees on public properties and in public rights-of-way. The plan also considers some community-wide issues, for example, the community’s total tree canopy, the role of trees throughout the city, opportunities for public education, updating tree regulations, and providing incentives for planting and retaining trees.”
The motto within this 97-page plan is: “The Right Tree in the Right Place”. I think we can all agree on this!
It makes sense to create an ordinance in Edmonds specifically related to private landowners, making sure tree and vegetation do not block someone else’s water view. This ordinance could also include, planting more trees (at the right height and in the right place!) and maintaining our old growth. In addition, having consistency would help diffuse tense dynamics among neighbors.
Lastly, I recognize the privilege that comes along with having and maintaining a water view. I recognize this could be trivial, in times when there are far greater issues to dedicate time and attention. That said, I hope I provided some value for those interested in this topic and a possibly jumping off point to continue this discussion.