Tree retention rules to be tightened?

By Meg Olson

Whatcom County Planning and Development staff will not be including changes to the Point Roberts rules for tree retention in their annual code scrub in order to allow the Point Roberts Community Advisory Committee (PRCAC) more time to review them.

“These items have to do with tree removal, including hazard trees, and the community really needs to weigh in on them,” said Joel Lantz at the October 18 PRCAC meeting. He said the item would be on the agenda for the November 15 PRCAC meeting.

Whatcom County senior planner Cliff Strong said staff had identified a loophole in the tree retention rules contained in Title 20.72 of the county code, the Point Roberts Special District. ‘

There are rules in Point Roberts that require landowners to retain a percentage of trees when they apply for a development permit,” Strong said. “What staff found is that people just cut down their trees and then applied for a permit,” which runs contrary to the intent of the tree retention regulations which were drafted following extensive public consultation.

“What was being proposed was to require a permit for all tree removal,” Strong said. “We have that rule in other areas of the county, such as around lakes.” A tree removal permit costs $35.

Strong said they had forwarded the proposed changes to PRCAC for review and would not move it forward for planning commission review until PRCAC had made their recommendation.

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