Public hearing April 20 on emergency Edmonds ordinance banning removal of large trees

The Edmonds City Council is scheduled to hold a public hearing Tuesday, April 20 on an interim emergency six-month ordinance it passed in March that prohibited the removal of trees greater than 24 inches in diameter from any private property unless those trees are deemed hazardous.

The idea behind the ordinance is to give the council time to work on additional, more detailed tree regulations to be included in city code — stage 2 of a two-stage process for updating the city’s tree regulations.

The ordinance prohibits the removal of larger “heritage trees” — defined as 24 inches in diameter at breast height. As an emergency measure, it became effective immediately after its March 2 passage. The purpose of the April 20 public hearing is to determine whether the ordinance should be continued for the full six months.

The emergency ordinance does not cover the removal of trees on properties that are going through a permitted development, such as a project that has a building permit, subvision or land use approval.

The council will also consider an interlocal agreement with the Housing Authority of Snohomish County (HASCO) that would allow the housing authority to provide additional housing in Edmonds for low-income households, “should an opportunity arise.” According to the recommendation attached to the council agenda, HASCO receives federal funding to acquire, develop and operate low-income housing. However, to do so, it must have an agreement with each city in which it operates. While HASCO owns three properties in Edmonds, some areas of the city “are not currently covered by an agreement with HASCO, so the agency cannot acquire property there without an extensive process involving the city council. This policy would allow HASCO to better compete in the market to purchase property to build and preserve affordable homes in Edmonds. While an ILA would reduce red tape and timelines for property acquisition, HASCO would still be required to meet all permitting and development requirements. “

Other items on the agenda include:

– A code amendment to realign the Planning Board appointment schedule.
– Policy changes to the city’s Paid Family & Medical Leave (PFML) policy.

The virtual meeting will begin at 7 p.m. via Zoom. To join, comment, view or listen to the meeting in its entirety, paste the following into a web browser using a computer or smart phone: Or join by phone: US: +1 253 215 8782 Webinar ID: 957 9848 4261.

Those who want to provide audience comments using a computer or smart phone are instructed to raise a virtual hand to be recognized. Persons wishing to provide audience comments by dial-up phone are instructed to press *9 to raise a hand. When prompted, press *6 to unmute.

In addition to Zoom, regular council meetings beginning at 7 p.m. are streamed live on the Council Meeting webpage, Comcast cable channel 21, and Ziply channel 39.


  1. If the City is going to Govern Property Rights, the city is responsible for universal legal code ahead time, not case by case judgements

    Necessary Detailed Code
    BREAST HEIGHT Define the details of what Edmonds will use as breast height in code ahead of time, not for each individual tree on varying properties.

    Hazardous: Define the specifics in code ahead of time, not for each individual property owner.

    As the city is taking property rights from the citizens, is the city liable for not preventing the tree from becoming hazordous, as it would with all public trees?

    Is the City responsible for the Prevention of hazords, not allowing for the trees to get to the stage of hazordous?

    We all know as the trees grow, the tree roots invade sewer and water lines, and the roots break drive ways, retaining walls, and foundations.

    Storms: Property owners concerned about potential to likely damage to their homes regarding tree damage, is the city liable for not allowing the cutting of a tree.

    Should the city be paying the insurance for the property these trees are on?

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