Legal battle over Frognal Estates dropped

By Brandon Gustafson | Jan 02, 2019

Just weeks after King County Superior Court Judge Barbara Linde sided in favor of the developer of over 100 houses in the Picnic Point area to continue logging, an environmental group that had been fighting the construction dropped its legal battle.

The Sno-King Watershed Council (SKWC) entered a voluntary dismissal in King County Superior Court recently. This came roughly two weeks after Linde sided with the developers, allowing early logging to continue at the site where 112 new homes will be built.

The new homes will be just behind Regatta Estates on 58th Place West off 136th Place Southwest in unincorporated Snohomish County, just south of Mukilteo.

The project has been debated for many years, as the area is heavily wooded and poses potential slide issues due to rain and erosion, according to SKWC and many Picnic Point residents.

Crews arrived to cut down trees and build an access road in early December, much to the dismay of nearby residents.

The week of Dec. 3, many residents and opponents of the project had parked cars on 58th Place West to try and block the crews from accessing the work site.

Later in the week, officers from the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office arrived and told  protesters they needed to move their cars or else they would be towed.

One car was towed, as the owner of the car was at work and could not move it, and has threatened legal action against Snohomish County and the Sheriff’s Office.

On Dec. 4, SKWC filed a petition with King County Superior Court to put an immediate stop to logging and clearing at the site until a hearing on forestry and grading in February, which had been scheduled for some time. Now, that February hearing has been canceled.

At the Dec. 7 hearing, Linde ordered a temporary stop to construction while she reviewed the case, before siding with the contractors four days later.

William Lider, a stormwater and erosion control engineer who serves as a board member for SKWC, was disappointed with Linde’s decision, which resulted in the legal battle being dropped.

“Unfortunately, the judge was unwilling to grant our stay request, even until the February hearing to halt the early logging,” he said. “With the loss of the trees, there is nothing left for us to appeal. We cannot glue the trees back on their stumps, and it will be another 130 years before the forest looks like it does today.”

Lider said despite Linde’s decision, the project still poses a multitude of environmental risks.

“SKWC believes that it is unlikely that Frognal Estates can ever be approved under its current design without significant environmental harm and risk to the Regatta Estates residents,” he said. “SKWC continues to oppose this project because of the likelihood of significant environmental harm that it poses.”

Lider said SKWC may still appeal permits for the full build out of the project once those permits are approved by Snohomish County. He also said SKWC will be keeping a close eye on the construction as it continues.

 

 

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