Tree Preservation Public Workshop Results Help Guide Proposed Amendments to CMC 18.45

The City of Covington Planning Commission is working on potential amendments to Chapter 18.45 CMC Tree Preservation and Protection. The Planning Commission is reviewing code effectiveness, ensuring the codes remain relevant, ensuring the code is consistent with best available science, and that the code is aligning with the community’s vision, however, balancing growth and development while maintaining a livable community is the primary reason for developing the proposed amendments.

The City of Covington Planning Commission held a community engagement workshop on January 16, 2020, to gather input from citizens regarding what is important to them from a policy standpoint in relation to tree preservation and protection. The workshop was well attended, and the Planning Commission was able to capture a sense of what the most important policies citizens wanted to be addressed as part of the amendment process.

Participants ranked a set of seven policy statements in order of preference from most important to least important. Some of the policy statements were generated by staff, while others were taken directly out of the Comprehensive Plan. Remarkably, the top four policy statements selected were all policy statements from the Comprehensive Plan, and are ranked in the order of importance as follows:

  1. Policy NE-6 - Protect significant trees and limit unnecessary disturbance of vegetation, when possible, during all phases of development, and require mitigation as needed, including the appropriate ratio of replacement for trees removed during development.
  2. Policy LU-12 - Promote the use of landscaping that can thrive in urban settings, conserve water, retain desirable trees, and is comprised of native plant materials.
  3. Policy NE-5 - Maximize retention of a healthy tree cover and native vegetation and encourage restoration, replacement, and enhancement of unhealthy or disturbed trees and vegetation.
  4. Policy NE-1 - Protect the ecological integrity of the natural environment while allowing for compatible growth and development.

So, what does this mean? The Planning Commission worked on the proposed amendments by focusing on modifications that are directly tied to existing policy. The proposed modifications were initiated by existing policy imbedded in the long-term vision of the City.

The City of Covington created an informational webpage to provide citizens with instant access to the project details, ISA educational materials, and other important documents and resources. Here is the link to the webpage:

https://www.covingtonwa.gov/city_departments/communitydevelopment/treepreservation.php.