Letters to the Editor

New SMP regulations will keep arborists busy | LETTER TO THE EDITOR

To the editor:

Bainbridge Island, where we love trees so much the removal of a half-broken limb is about to become a crime.

According to the draft SMP, Section 4.1.3.8.1.b.i. Minor Pruning, “All pruning shall meet the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) tree pruning standards.”

The pruning standards referenced are written by no elected official, but by a select committee of professional arborists. The standards are subject to change and expansion without notice. According to the standards as currently written, “Tree maintenance shall be performed only by arborists or arborist trainees.”

It is ridiculous on its face that when our next windstorm leaves a half-broken tree branch hanging down, it will be mandatory to pay an arborist to complete the limb’s removal. If the SMP passes as written, while absurd it will be the law with regard to cleaning up broken branches. Perhaps we should rename the SMP the Bainbridge Island Arborist’s Full Employment Act. The soon-to-be mandatory expense of a regular visit by an arborist after every big blow will have the exact opposite of the intended effect; people will be less likely to plant trees.

As Winston Churchill said, “If you have ten thousand regulations, you destroy all respect for the law.”

MARTIN STEVER

Bainbridge Island

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