Plan to build near Maltby peat bog in limbo

MALTBY — A legal tussle over plans to build luxury homes near the shore of a rare peat bog looks likely to continue for a while longer, following a court decision last week.

Meanwhile, interest in conserving the more than 20 acres that make up Hooven Bog appear to be gaining support within Snohomish County government. About 50 people have written letters to county administrators urging protection of the wetland, Deputy County Executive Mark Ericks said.

“I’d like to ensure that this bog is preserved for all time to come,” Ericks said. “We’re working on the issue. It’s premature to tell how it’s going to turn out.”

Hooven Bog likely formed after glaciers retreated from Western Washington about 10,000 years ago. The bog’s nutrient-poor, acidic environment is home to mats of sphagnum moss of several yards thick that float in the bog water. Stunted pines and Western hemlocks grow there, along with a rare bladderwort species.

A state Court of Appeals commissioner decided Tuesday that the court should review a Snohomish County Superior Court judge’s ruling that was in favor of the developers, who own about 30 acres in and around Hooven Bog.

The county had challenged Judge Eric Lucas’ reversal last year of a hearing examiner decision to process the development’s grading permits under stricter environmental rules.

The commissioner found that questions raised by the county met the threshold for a review by a three-judge panel.

The appeals court’s interest in the case came as good news to county government and Randall Whalen, a neighbor who has been leading an effort to conserve the wetland. They have been fighting in court to support the hearing examiner’s decision.

“We’re at least a year away from getting a decision from the Court of Appeals in this,” said Whalen’s attorney, Richard Aramburu of Seattle. “There’s a long way for them to go before they could build anything there and they haven’t even made an application for building permits.”

The developers have owned the property since the 1970s. Robert Dillon and Rodney Loveless have said that their project has been hamstrung by county planners subjecting them to needless delays. They’ve sued the county, claiming damages.

Loveless did not return calls for comment Friday.

In 2007, they applied for permits to build five homes within 100 feet or less of Hooven Bog. The home lots are in woods immediately south of the bog.

They submitted the application two weeks before stricter rules took effect governing what can be built near the bog, which is classified as a category 1 wetland — the kind the county considers of highest ecological value. More current regulations would limit the developers to just one home on their approximately 30 acres.

In 2009, the property owners got in trouble with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the state Department of Ecology for building a road of crushed-concrete gravel through the bog. The concrete disturbed the acidic chemistry that makes the bog unusual. The developers removed the road the following year, but some material remains.

Lawyers said they don’t expect to argue the case before the appeals judges before autumn.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; nhaglund@heraldnet.com.

More in Local News

Young woman missing from Mukilteo found safe

She called her parents and told them she was at a museum in Seattle.

Mom and brother turn in suspect in Stanwood robberies

The man is suspected of robbing the same gas station twice, and apologizing to the clerk afterward.

Derrick “Wiz” Crawford, 22, is a suspect in the homicide of his roommate. (Edmonds Police Department)
Roommate suspected in Edmonds killing found hiding in closet

Police had been searching for him for 10 days before locating him at a house in Everett.

Video shows man suspected of attacking a woman in Edmonds

The man allegedly threw her on the ground, then ran away after the she began kicking and screaming.

Navy to put filter in Coupeville’s contaminated water system

Chemicals from firefighting foam was found in the town’s drinking water.

Officials to test sanity of suspect in Everett crime spree

He allegedly tried to rob and clobber a transit worker, then fled and struggled with police.

Katharine Graham, then CEO and chairwoman of the board of The Washington Post Co., looks over a copy of The Daily Herald with Larry Hanson, then The Herald’s publisher, during her visit to Everett on Sept. 20, 1984. The Washington Post Co. owned The Herald from 1978 until 2013. (Herald archives)
Everett’s brush with Katharine Graham, leader of ‘The Post’

Retired Herald publisher Larry Hanson recalls The Washington Post publisher’s visits.

Former Monroe cop loses appeal on sex crimes conviction

Once a highly respected officer, he was found guilty of secretly videotaping his kids’ babysitter.

Families seek to change wrongful death law

A bill would allow or parents or siblings who wish to pursue a suit for an unmarried, childless adult.

Most Read