- Cascade River Park was formed to provide members a “next to wilderness” experience. Being composed of small lots, actions which owners take can have a significant impact on neighbors — as well as our community at large. This policy has historically addressed the cutting and logging of trees for many years. Advancements in environmental science, public environmental awareness, environmental laws and evolving expectations of CRCC membership creates a responsibility to frequently update this policy. As such, appropriate regulation of the clearing or trimming of trees and the cutting or clearing of other vegetation can be managed to avoid negative impacts to the natural environment as well as the experience of our community. Cascade River Park lies within a riparian-rich environment which is significantly regulated by a variety of county, state, and federal agencies. While this policy only minimally references these regulations, they are attached for reference and membership compliance with them is encouraged.
- This policy shall apply to all member-owned lots within Cascade River Park and shall apply to all lots going forward from this date. This not only establishes a standard for considering tree or vegetation removal but can also serve as a guideline when considering how to repair/replant a newly acquired or existing lot.
- As noted in the statement of purpose current environmental laws are referenced as a factor in this policy as CRCC and its members are indeed stewards of portions of a unique ecological landscape in the midst of a wilderness environment, including a nationally designated river corridor and habitat for a variety of protected species (including certain fish, birds and mammals, etc.).
- It has been the experience of various CRCC Boards that—when applying for permits regarding our water system, work on bridges, and a host of other interactions—Cascade River Community Club and all its members benefit substantially from a respected relationship with those who govern various activities on all of our properties. The following set of guidelines should inform your decisions about what to keep and what might be best removed.
Enforced Tree and Vegetation Management
- Removal of trees as follows:
- Maintain 85% of the trees greater than 24 inches at head height throughout the parcel. Cutting trees of this size requires a permit from CRCC as well as replanting.
- Maintain 50% of the trees greater than 12 inches at head height throughout the parcel. Cutting trees of this size requires a permit from CRCC as well as replanting.
- Maintain an average of 50% canopy cover, with a permit required in excess of 50% clearance.
- Removal of other tree(s) less than 12 inches at head height and any non-tree vegetation is at member’s discretion. Removal must be done such that no open soil remains for longer than 7 days unless covered with soil stabilizing mulch, bark, gravel, etc., consistent with coverage limits as noted in section 2.d., or replanted with seed or plantings which can reasonably be expected to take root. This provision is intended to prevent water from pooling, soil erosion during rains, and/or increased turbidity in drainage.
- Percent of a lot references a rough estimate of vegetation which would naturally occur on said lot. Gravel or other non-organic, non-living materials may not cover more than 33% of a parcel’s open ground.
CRCC Permit Process
- Permits may be issued, declined, or issued with restrictions or addendums keeping in mind prior cutting or clearing activities, the overall existing canopy, and other relevant circumstances.
- Members planning to modify trees and/or foliage may apply via the Lot Modification Permit available on the Park’s website or from the Park Office. The Lot Modification Committee or a representative will review the request and reply within 14-days of receipt.
- In the case of a hazardous tree, follow procedures in 4.a above. The Board will expedite the request utilizing caretaker(s) to verify conditions. In questionable cases consult an arborist and submit their evaluation.
- In the case of an emergency where a tree has fallen on or is leaning on a structure, auto or roadway, members are advised to contact CRCC caretaker(s) immediately to verify the situation, however members may take such action in the event of an emergency to safeguard property and life as they deem necessary. Once mitigation of the emergency condition is done, debris and harvested timber must remain in place on the member’s property until a Lot Modification Permit can be completed, which must occur within 24 hours. The Permit will be reviewed for the existence of an actual emergency. If one is found to have existed, the member may proceed with clean-up and remediation of the site if needed. If an emergency is not substantiated, the Park may levy a penalty as provided in this policy.
Penalty for violation
- A minor violation of this policy may result in a warning, either verbal by any member of the Board of Directors, employee of the Park, or a written warning from the Board of Directors. A violation, particularly a repeat or egregious violation, may also result in a financial penalty. Fines will begin at $300 and may be levied per occurrence, per tree, etc., at Board discretion. If not paid within 60 days, such a fine will constitute an encumbrance on the member’s property upon which the violation occurred and a lien may be filed. Failure to satisfy the lien and associated lien costs within 60 additional days may result in foreclosure of the subject parcel.
- The Board of Directors, in order to effect compliance with this policy, may elect to report a violator to Skagit County (or any other pertinent government body) in the interest of avoiding incurring legal costs (to CRCC.). See “References” below.
- Appeals may be heard in accordance with CRCC Policy 1412 Appeals Committee regarding this policy, and decisions of the Appeals Committee will be final. Note, however, that any action taken to report a violation to authorities (see 6.b. above) cannot be undone and the Board of Directors is indemnified in such cases regardless of appeal on the basis that, particularly, in cases of substantial abuse, this action becomes a fiduciary responsibility of the Board.
Compliance with this policy in no way equates to compliance with Skagit County codes or ordinances. Cascade River Community Club assumes no liability for any member regarding their own code compliance and strongly advises each member to use due diligence to determine any and all specific requirements with Skagit county (or any other agency’s) codes and/or ordinances, and the consequences thereof, that apply to their respective lot(s).
Introduced and read Nov 17, 2018
Edited and read Dec 8, 2018
Adopted Jan 19, 2019
Effective Date Feb 1, 2019
REVISED Date August 19, 2021