Almost everything seems to grow fast in Seattle, especially weeds, making maintenance of areas along city streets a challenge. In addition to being annoying, overgrowth can present safety or health issues. So who is responsible?
The general rule is, the adjacent property owner is responsible. Private property owners are responsible for maintaining the sidewalks and planting strips next to their property; the Seattle Department of Transportation is responsible for street medians and certain other areas next to public property such as next to city bridges; and the Seatttle Department of Parks and Recreation maintains areas next to city parks.
Property owners are responsible for keeping vegetation from their property from blocking sidewalks or streets. To provide sufficient clearance for pedestrians, tree branches should hang no lower than eight feet above the surface of a sidewalk, and to provide engough clearance for vehicles including large trucks, branches should hang no lower than 14 feet above the surface of a street. It is also very important to trim back vegetation that might block the view of an intersection from a distance of 30 feet, or vegetation that might obscure a traffic sign or traffic signal.
To report issues regarding vegetation overgrowth from public property such as street medians or along bridges, call the Seattle Department of Transportation, (206) 684-7623 or use the online form at http://tinyurl.com/mdbhzta.
For vegetation growing from private property into the sidewalk or street, contact the Department of Planning and Development, (206) 615-0808 or use an online form at http://web1.seattle.gov/dpd/complaintform. )
A street use permit is required for pruning or removing trees in the public right of way (contact the SDOT Urban Forestry Office at 684-7649), and a permit or exemption is required to remove vegetation from environmentally ciritcal areas such as steep slopes or wetlands.
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