Council gets first peek at interim tree ordinance

The Bainbridge Island City Council got its hands on a revised set of rules to protect and retain trees as land is developed for new commercial, industrial and multifamily housing projects.

While council members were presented with a 24-page set of regulations at their meeting Wednesday night, the new rules are not complete.

Planning Director Kathy Cook told the council that when the city recently updated its codes, the tree ordinance was purposely omitted as more time was needed to finish the retention regulations. But an interim ordinance was produced to bridge the gap until a permanent set of regulations can be formed and approved.

The council gave the initial thumbs up for interim regulations that protect and retain trees while work continues on a more complete set of standards.

Eventually, the revised regulations may include tree retention requirements to lower density developments of single-family homes, stormwater-fee credits for developers who plant more trees than are required, and the establishment of a “tree account” where builders could deposit funds for tree plantings when they can’t comply with the city’s tree-retention requirements on their development sites.

Final approval, and a public hearing, for the interim ordinance is scheduled for Oct. 24.

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