Seeds of Change: Tree Controversy Prompts Potential Code Amendments

The city's planning commission will hold a public hearing on the proposals next Wednesday.

The Redmond Planning Commission will hold a public hearing next Wednesday, Jan. 16, to gather input on a group of code amendments stemming from the controversial Group Health tree-removal plans.

Citizen group Sustainable Redmond submitted the proposals to the City of Redmond last April, according to Tom Hinman, a Sustainable Redmond board member and former Redmond planning commissioner.

The amendments call for more explicit public notice about development plans calling for tree removal, more information about how exceptions are granted to the city's tree protection regulations, and a baseline retention of 50 percent of landmark trees and 20 percent of significant trees (see attached PDF from Sustainable Redmond for more information).

Many residents expressed surprise and frustration when plans for complete removal at the Group Health development site surfaced in late 2011. An approved development agreement between Group Health and the city includes an exception to the city's zoning code that allows for more than 1,000 trees to be removed from the 28-acre site.

In early 2012, representatives from Sustainable Redmond filed a land-use petition against the city over its approval of the tree-removal agreement. The matter was settled in June, when Group Health .

The Jan. 16 public hearing will take place at 7 p.m. at Redmond City Hall. For more information, call 425-556-2421 or email planningcommission@redmond.gov


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