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Title 12
Chapter 12.02
Section 12.02.916
 

Title 12 Public Ways and Property

Chapter 12.02 Obstruction, Encroachment of Public Ways

Article V. Urban Forestry Program

Section 12.02.916 Protection of Public and Private Historic and Heritage Trees

  1. The historic and heritage tree preservation designation recognizes the significance of trees to the City. A tree may be retained beyond its useful life because of its contribution to the environment and City character. The intent of this ordinance is to balance the preservation of historic and heritage trees with the growth and development of the City of Spokane. A heritage or historical tree is designated by the tree committee based on the following criteria:

    1. Has historical significance to a person, place, or event.

    2. Has attained significant size in height, caliper, or canopy spread for its age and species.

    3. Has special aesthetic qualities for its species.

    4. Is prominently visible to the public, along major roads, or public places.

    5. Possesses rare horticulture value.

    6. Is not a hazard or obstruction.

    7. The owner of the tree agrees in writing to the “Heritage” designation of the tree and has complied with the nomination steps set forth in subsection D of this section.
       
  2. The purpose of the heritage tree program shall be to accomplish the following:

    1. Increase public awareness of trees in general and specifically Spokane’s urban forest.

    2. Draw attention to and protect those significant heritage trees that are unique as specified by SMC 12.02.916.

    3. Provide publicity for increased awareness of the purpose and activities of the Spokane urban forestry tree committee (UFTC), the UFTC citizen advisory committee and the urban forestry program.

    4. Encourage public participation in the identification and perpetuation of heritage trees throughout the City.
       
  3. The definition of “heritage tree” is a tree or collection of trees that is particularly desirable because it has valued, unique characteristics that set it apart from other similar trees as specified by SMC 12.02.916.
     
  4. The process for nomination shall be as follows:

    1. Any individual or group of individuals interested in identifying and preserving heritage trees may nominate a tree or trees on any Spokane City property for “heritage” status.

    2. The city council may nominate a tree or collection of trees on City property for heritage tree status.

    3. Heritage tree nominations shall be submitted to the urban forest tree committee on nomination forms provided by the urban forestry program of the City.

    4. The nomination shall at least include:

      1. a description of the tree nominated;

      2. the characteristics that merit the tree being designated for heritage tree status, (as designated in SMC 12.02.916) including the history of the tree, if known;

      3. a photograph of the tree; and

      4. a map locating the tree.

    5. The owner of the property on which the nominated tree is located shall agree to the nomination by signing the consent statement on the nominating form.

    6. The owner of the property on which the nominated tree is located must agree in writing to allow the tree to be placed on a City map of heritage trees.

    7. To inform future property owners, the owner of the property will be encouraged in the notification letter to record a notice to title indicating the location of the heritage tree on the property.

    8. Upon recommendation by the urban forest tree committee, the council may remove designation of any tree as a heritage tree if it finds that such designation is no longer appropriate.
       
  5. The authority and process for designation of heritage trees shall be as follows:

    1. The urban forest tree committee (UFTC) shall consider heritage tree nominations at their regular meetings, using the heritage tree designation guidance document to make their determination. The consideration meetings should take place within two months from receipt of a nomination. No tree may be given heritage tree status unless a quorum of UFTC members discuss and vote in favor of the heritage tree nomination.

    2. Criteria to be considered by the urban forest tree committee for recommending a nomination for heritage tree status shall include the following (as designated by SMC 12.02.916):

      1. Has historical significance to a person, place, or event.

      2. Has attained significant size in height, caliper, or canopy spread for its age and species.

      3. Has special aesthetic qualities for its species.

      4. Is prominently visible to the public, along major roads or public places.

      5. Possesses rare horticultural value.

      6. Is not a hazard or obstruction.

      7. The owner of the tree agrees in writing to the “heritage” designation of the tree and has complied with the nomination steps set forth in subsection D of this section.

    3. All heritage trees will be identified and recorded in a register maintained by the urban forestry tree committee and the urban forestry program.

    4. Notice of all trees identified as heritage trees by the urban forest tree committee shall be forwarded to the mayor. All designated trees, including names of the nominator and the property owner, will then be acknowledged in a letter from the mayor to the nominator and property owner. This letter will be provided by the urban forestry program to the mayor’s staff. Further individual heritage tree publicity is at the discretion of the mayor and the urban forest tree committee, such as proclamations and publicity releases.

    5. The urban forest tree committee shall give biannual updates to the city council on the number of trees designated.
       
  6. The city will provide the owner with a professional arborist’s assessment of the health of the tree and recommendations for maintaining the tree according to accepted pruning and care standards.
     
  7. A heritage tree or collection of trees is retained by the property owner and does not become the property or responsibility of the City. The property owner is responsible for all maintenance and liability issues pertaining to the tree or trees. Prior to removal of a heritage tree, a property owner must consult with the urban forest tree committee, as specified on the consent form. The City strongly encourages all heritage tree property owners to retain these significant tree(s). However, a heritage tree designation does not prohibit a property owner from developing a property and/or removing the heritage tree or trees subject to the City’s tree retention regulations.
     
  8. The tree committee may establish additional procedures for nomination of heritage trees consistent with this section. A registry of historic trees is maintained and the designation is indicated on the City tree inventory.

Date Passed: Monday, November 2, 2009

Effective Date: Friday, December 11, 2009

ORD C34494 Section 1