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Kirkland Adopts Increased Penalties and Fines for Illegal Removal and Damage of Trees

Posted on May 8, 2020 in:
  • Industry Issues
  • Environment
  • Advocacy

On May 5, Kirkland City Council adopted updates to Chapter 1.12.100 of the Kirkland Municipal Code (KMC), approving amendments to the Tree Code Enforcement regulations. Council adopted the updated codes as a deterrent to illegal tree removal or damage and to prevent long-term damage to the city’s urban forest by strengthening code enforcement and civil penalties for illegal tree removal or damage. Language was strengthened to apply code equitably to residents and developers, and additional language was added to hold the city accountable for replacing damaged or removed trees on municipal property. Below is a list of additional updates:

  • Increase civil penalty fines for illegal tree removal or damage based on tree size and location within protected areas. Illegal removal of a landmark tree of 30” is now $20,000.
  • Address situations where a tree has been illegally removed and attempts are made to conceal the evidence.
  • Adds the authority to assess treble damages for illegal public tree removal or damage per RCW 64.12.030.
  • Clarifies the definition and fines for “repeat violations,” with fines increasing with each repeat violation.
  • The ANSI Standards were included in the proposed code to provide clarity on pruning limitations.  

Clarifications and adjustments were made to the restoration and replacement standards, taking into consideration the availability of native trees from local plant nurseries.

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