Seattle recently enacted a couple of ordinances which will make it easier to opt out of yellow page phone book deliveries. These ordinances provide for stiff penalties for companies delivering unwanted directories to your home if you have opted out. Seattle has contracted with Catalog Choice, an outside agency for this service. Catalog Choice handles junk mail as well. They do require creating an account to manage which phone books (if any) you wish to receive. More information is available at Seattle Public Utilities. SPU maintains a Frequently Asked Question page as well with the answers to a lot of potential concerns.
You have to take the initiative to opt out of the delivery. Many folk already just drop their phone books in the recycle bin the day they are received. Opting out solves not only the immediate problem of unwanted yellow pages, but also the overloading of the recycling operation, and reduces the waste of forest resources. Your opt-out selections must be made 30 days in advance of the scheduled delivery for them to be honored. The Dex deadline for opt-out is May 16th.
The web site for Catalog Choice is slow today (May 5th) due to the extremely high percentage of Seattle residents who wish to opt out or otherwise manage their yellow pages deliveries. The ordinances are not popular with the phone book companies, and some are mounting a First Amendment challenge to them as noted in this article on the PI. Update: As of May 10th, 105,000 Seattle households have opted out per this article.
Crown Hill residents are eligible to receive free trees for their yards through the City of Seattle’s reLeaf program. Only a limited number of trees are available, and Crown Hill is not the only eligible neighborhood, so make sure to submit your request as soon as possible. Here are a few things to note about this program:
Trees must be planted in yards, not as street trees. Do not plant under power lines.
Recipients of trees will also receive a watering bag and a free bag of compost.
To obtain trees (maximum of four per household) you must attend a planting and care workshop on December 12. It is tentatively scheduled to be held at the Crown Hill Center, 9250 14th Ave NW
A limited number of the following species are available: Italian prune, Douglas fir, western red cedar, Katsura, and Red oak (the same as the big oak at the Crown Hill Center on the corner of 95th and 13th). The prune is smaller and the shore pine is medium-sized, but the others can become larger trees. For this reason you will need to be selective about planting locations.
The short application form is due Nov. 22, but since this is a first come, first serve program, it is likely that you will need to submit your form sooner if you want a tree.
In addition to households, businesses, schools and churches are also eligible (no parks).
Seattle City Council recently passed an ordinance easing many restrictions on agricultural activities on residential lots within the City. You can see the full ordinance as incorporated into the Seattle Municipal Code here. On a recent walk (prior to the passage of the new ordinance) around four blocks in Crown Hill I saw seven chicken coops already in existence, several with more than the previously allowed three chickens. Those “scofflaws” (or maybe they’re just forward thinkers) will get a reprieve under the new ordinance as the number of allowed chickens will increase from three to eight. Roosters which were previously allowed are no longer permitted.
Here’s an opportunity to get some free trees from the city of Seattle. The city Department of Neighborhoods (DON) administers the Tree Fund to enhance the urban forest. Since 1972 the city estimates that Seattle’s urban forest tree cover has decreased from 40% to 22%. Trees play an important part in holding back stormwater surges, reducing erosion, retaining carbon, absorption of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, and improving the aesthetic qualities of the urban environment. And we’ve lost some very large and some very old trees in Crown Hill in the last several years.
The DON Tree Fund has planted more than 20,000 trees in 15 years. This year’s program requires a group of neighbors living on a block or street get together and agree to plant between 10 to 40 trees. Each participating house can then choose a fruit tree.
Full details are available at the tree fund web site. Applications are due by August 16th, 2010.