Neighborhood Services & Tree Preservation

The Planning & Community Development Department provides a wide range of resources for our residents. In addition to permit review, long range planning, and economic development, the staff also provides support  in code enforcement and tree preservation. Please use the links on the left to guide to Code Enforcement, and Tree Preservation.

Trees Planted Near Power Lines

Fallen trees and downed power lines blocking a roadA large number of power outages affecting Snohomish County in recent years were caused by trees.  Fallen trees and tree limbs that become entangled in lines, wind-blown branches that cross lines as they fall to the ground, and tree limbs that grow into power lines are the major causes of outages, according to the Snohomish County PUD’s publication, Tree Book, A Tree Selection Guide for Planting Near Power Lines.”  This publication was prepared to provide utility customers with guidelines for appropriate tree selection, placement and management to that trees planted will result in many years of beauty and safety.

Wise tree selection and placement of newly planted trees also protects street and sidewalk visibility and clearance, and prevents damage to pavement, sewers and buildings.  Properly located trees can greatly enhance property appearance leading to greater value, and could be considered an investment in the future.  Consider planting with native species that are adaptable to our climate, conserve water and provide much needed habitat for local birds and animals.

When making tree and shrub decisions, consider how you want your yard/property to look in 20 years.A large oak tree is blown over by a storm taking down high voltage electric wires across a neighborhood street and is cordened off by yellow tape saying "Caution, High Voltage."

  • Are there power lines near or above the location of the tree?
  • Does the type of tree have the capacity to grow taller than the power/utility lines?
  • Are there underground utilities that serve your home and have you located them to avoid damage?
  • Is the tree considered an invasive species (i.e., poplars and willows) that could develop large tree roots and cause serious damage to sewer pipes and other underground utilities?
  • Will the tree be planted too close to sidewalks or driveways whose roots will cause pavement to “heave” as they mature?  Repairs to concrete is expensive and is a trip hazard for pedestrians.
  • Will the tree be planted too close to buildings and/or homes that can damage the roof or foundation?

Routine Inspection of Trees

Inspect your trees regularly, especially at the beginning of storm season.  Learn to spot the eight warning signs of structure tree defects:

  • tree care history and maintenance
  • excessive lean (i.e., the tree is no longer vertical but leaning one way or another)
  • multiple trunks
  • weakly attached branches
  • cavities/deep pockets
  • cracks in trunk or limbs
  • hangers (broken limbs in trunk)
  • deadwood

Remove anything away from a potential hazardous tree immediately; call the PUD at (425) 783-5579 to request an examination by a certified arborist. For more information about certified arborists, visit