Lottery winner fined for clearing on San Juan Island

SEATTLE — Washington state regulators have fined a property owner $79,000 for clearing sensitive shoreline on San Juan Island.

The Department of Ecology last week issued two penalties to Orca Dreams LLC for illegally cutting down at least 80 trees last fall, as well as failing to get a permit and allowing polluting material to enter False Bay.

Orca Dreams was formed by Dave Honeywell, a Fredericksburg, Virginia, man who won a $217 million Powerball lottery last year, KUOW-FM reported. The company paid $6 million for the property on San Juan’s outer shore and plans to develop it into a retirement home and family compound with multiple buildings.

Friday Harbor lawyer Stephanie Johnson O’Day, who is representing Honeywell and his wife, said they accept responsibility for their contractor clearing more brush than they wanted. She said the couple will appeal the fine.

“Admittedly, the fellow who did the brush clearing went overboard,” she told KUOW. “But it wasn’t clear-cutting. Instead of thinning out the bushes, he took out all the bushes.”

The Honeywells are being “crucified” for something that’s been blown completely out of proportion, she said.

The state has ordered the company to come up with a restoration plan by the end of August and to replant the site by Oct. 31.

Ecology officials said investigators observed vegetation cleared to bare soil on a steep bank above the bay and found slash and debris on the beach at the tide line. The property is near a biological preserve owned by the University of Washington.

“It was basically clear-cut, so all of the trees were cut down to a pretty low stump height, then it was burned,” said Doug Allen, with the Washington Department of Ecology. He added that it will take decades of growth for the slope to regain the function that the mature trees provided.

Ecology officials said the clearing took out dozens of trees more than a foot in diameter.

More in Local News

Snohomish mayoral candidates have very little in common

Karen Guzak and John Kartak are vying for the new position.

Second teen charged after $1 million in school vandalism

Two teens now face felony charges for damage at two schools in Darrington last summer.

Charged in stabbing, his long list of felonies could grow

The Arlington man is accused of attacking a man who interrupted a possible burglary in Everett.

A potentially transformative council election in Snohomish

As the city adopts a new form of government, many new faces are seeking office.

Mill Creek hires Gina Hortillosa as public works director

Hortillosa will be responsible for creating strategic infrastructure plans to promote economic growth.

1 shot dead, another wounded in apparent Everett robbery

There are indications the victims might have known the shooter, who apparently fled in a vehicle.

FBI operation leads to 3 arrests for exploitation

Several Snohomish County law enforcement agencies assisted with a FBI… Continue reading

County Council postpones vote on conservation district programs

The Snohomish County Council has postponed a vote about funding… Continue reading

Most Read