Save Our Silent Giants!

$1,476 of $15k goal

Raised by 30 people in 6 months
Lisa Parriott  SEATTLE, WA
OUR SILENT GIANT

We live in a community where many choose all-wheel drive vehicles over luxury sedans.  Our automobiles are a means that transport us to the mountain peaks, the river valleys, and seashores to recharge our souls.  And when we are at home, we find respite in our gardens and urban forests.  Our community’s fabric is knitted together by sidewalks, green spaces, and tall interwoven canopies.  This is the best of the northwest and this is why we choose to live here.

 Many of us are currently standing for a common cause:  to protect our silent giant in West Seattle’s urban forest who can’t defend itself.  It is a magnificent 100+ foot ponderosa pine tree that we all have enjoyed for many years, some for a lifetime.  Given its towering height, it is part of the framework of so many of our yards. It is part of the West Seattle skyline and can be seen from down town Seattle. It is the lungs that purify the air we breathe. 

 Our ponderosa pine is considered an “exceptional tree” by the Seattle Municipal Code (SMC 25.11) and therefore protected, with one exception.  SMC 25.11.060 allows a tree to be removed on a site undergoing development if the maximum lot coverage (as defined by the Seattle Land Use Code - SMC Title 23) cannot be achieved without extending into the tree protection area.

 Our tree is located in the middle of the side yard of 3038 39th Ave SW.  An elderly gentleman sold his home to a developer (something he swore he would never do - but the developer misrepresented himself during the transaction) at the end of last year for $505,000, cash.  This developer asked the City if it considers the side yard a “buildable lot” since it is under the minimum allowed lot size (SMC 23.44.010) by almost 2,000 sf. The fee for this request was $1,000.  The City has rendered their preliminary opinion that the lot is “buildable” based on a “historic lot exemption” (SMC 23.44.010 (B))(1)(d).  Given this preliminary opinion, the developer can now secure a building permit for a home he estimates will cost $337,000 to build.  We estimate, that the developer stands to gain $350,000+ and the City will collect property taxes in perpetuity.  We loose a tree because it impedes on the house’s footprint.

 The City’s website (web6.seattle.gov/dpd/edms, Projects #3024037, #6513178, and 3022995) contains more than 80 comments all of which oppose this project.  We love our big beautiful tree and want it protected.  We live in a built up high density single family zone and have challenged the City’s determination that this is a buildable lot. The City has taken the liberty to justify their opinion based on an “interpretation of actions” taken in 1930.  They have set the facts aside.  What is even sad and humorous at the same time is that the arguments we are making are the same arguments the City made previously to deny a developer the chance to build on a differing side yard.  The City made this legal case successfully three times with the third being in the Court of Appeals (affirming the King County Superior Court’s decision).  This is the highest level of legal recourse. While the politics have changed, the code has not.

 As we understand it today, our remaining option is to request a land use interpretation from the City once they issue a Master Use Permit (MUP). The cost is $2,800 for the first 10 hours and we anticipate it to exceed this amount.  This reserves our legal rights to challenge whether or not this lot qualifies for an historic lot exemption.  At the same time, we have a 14 day period to appeal the MUP to the City of Seattle’s hearing examiner (another $170 City fee).  Our legal advisor has asked the City to rescind their preliminary opinion based on the facts, the law, and previous court rulings.  As of today, the City has not responded.

 What We Need

We are learning as we go…  We know there is strength in numbers.  To create a political will for change we need solidarity and an extensive community/media/electeds outreach.  We hope you will lend us your voice of support by sending your comments to the City’s website, project #3024037 and writing your electeds asking them to Save our Silent Giant!  We are also raising funds and are asking you to lend us your financial support to cover our expenses.  Any remaining funds will be spent on advocating for the protection of our urban forest.

 Saving our urban forest, one tree at a time for our generation and the future generations to come…

 Lisa Parriott, PE
 
Lisa Parriott has lived across from the Silent Giant for the past 24 years.  She is a Washington native - her family was part of the original European founders of Seattle.  She graduated from the University of Washington in Civil Engineering.  She is a professional engineer, served in the Army, an artist, and helicopter pilot among many other things…
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Update 10
Posted by Lisa Parriott
3 days ago
We had our hearing before the City of Seattle’s hearing examiner (Tanner) last Thursday, 1-13-17. I estimate that 35-40 Friends were in attendance and it was a full house!

The schedule: final briefs are due this week. We should be notified of the decision within 2 weeks.

We had 3 media outlets present at the hearing: Kiro 7, West Seattle Blog, and Crosscut. After the hearing, King 5 came and interviewed us by the tree and aired their report live on the 9-10-and 11pm news. Here is the coverage:

http://westseattleblog.com/2017/01/can-a-1930-document-control-our-actions-86-years-later-ruling-awaited-in-tree-vs-house-case/

http://www.king5.com/news/local/neighbors-fight-to-save-ponderosa-pine/385720822

http://www.kiro7.com/video?videoId=483942769&videoVersion=1.0

1-13-17 Dori Monson Show: West Seattle Tree
https://youtu.be/I4prsKwunZs

We also appreciate all of the support that Seattle Green Spaces and Washington Forest Law Center have given us. Without their support, we would not be where we are today. Thank you!

Send positive thoughts over the next 2 ½ weeks and take a stroll by the tree if you get a chance. If we are not successful, I anticipate the tree will be cut down shortly (if not the day after) the decision is made.
Coverage by KIRO 7 @ the Hearing 1-13-17
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Update 7
Posted by Lisa Parriott
15 days ago
Good Morning,
I just wanted to let all of you know that the hearing is scheduled for this upcoming Thursday. It is being held at the Seattle Municipal Tower, 40th floor, Hearing Examiner's room (off the hallway shared with the elevators). It starts at 9am. Your presence would be appreciated even if you can only stay for a bit.

The question before the Hearing Examiner is whether or not this is a legal building site based on a 1957 Code - Historic Lot Exception. We do not believe it qualifies. You can see submitted legal documents at the Hearing Examiner's web page and search for our case: MUP-16-019.

https://web6.seattle.gov/examiner/casesearch?fid=0&sval=mup-16-019&fid=0&sval=mup-16-019

Lisa


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Read a Previous Update
Karen Lyons
3 months ago

Why are we trying to raise $15,000. how will this save this tree?

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Karen Lyons
3 months ago

I'm with Justin, how can we leave a comment? You have not given us any site where we can add our voice?

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Shepherd Siegel
3 months ago

What has the response from Councilmember Herbold been?

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Justin Bishop
3 months ago

thanks for helping save our trees. can you help me understand how to add my comment to all those listed under #3024037 on http://web6.seattle.gov/dpd/edms/ ?

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Lisa Parriott
4 months ago

Hildegard, Have you been getting my email updates? I will send another one shortly. Let me know if you haven't been getting any of them.

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Hildegard Nichols
4 months ago

Do you have an update for us?

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$1,476 of $15k goal

Raised by 30 people in 6 months
Created July 5, 2016
Lisa Parriott  
NE
$20
Nina De Eichas
9 days ago

If you spend just one moment, listening to the hundreds of birds singing from this tree you would donate money instantly to save their home. Please don't take away their home !!!

JD
$25
James Davis
9 days ago
GA
$50
Grace Alexander
9 days ago

I support your efforts 100%!!! We live in Seward Park, a neighborhood which, I have always thought, has much in common with yours. There are two very tall 100+ year old London Plane trees, planted by the Olmstead brothers in 1908, in our parking strip. I am always trying to save them from the "butchery" practiced by the tree pruning companies, paid by the city to prune around power lines. Of course we know that they always choose the lowest bidder! Good luck, I wish we could help you more. Grace

KM
$20
Kate McLaughlin
10 days ago
RE
$20
Richard Ellison
13 days ago

Save Seattle's Trees!

JF
$10
Jeanne Fellin
3 months ago
DZ
$30
Diane Zaballero
3 months ago
SS
$25
Scott Scowcroft
3 months ago
$20
Anonymous
3 months ago
JP
$25
Julie Penezic
3 months ago
Karen Lyons
3 months ago

Why are we trying to raise $15,000. how will this save this tree?

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Karen Lyons
3 months ago

I'm with Justin, how can we leave a comment? You have not given us any site where we can add our voice?

+ Read More
Shepherd Siegel
3 months ago

What has the response from Councilmember Herbold been?

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Justin Bishop
3 months ago

thanks for helping save our trees. can you help me understand how to add my comment to all those listed under #3024037 on http://web6.seattle.gov/dpd/edms/ ?

+ Read More
Lisa Parriott
4 months ago

Hildegard, Have you been getting my email updates? I will send another one shortly. Let me know if you haven't been getting any of them.

+ Read More
Hildegard Nichols
4 months ago

Do you have an update for us?

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