County to buy land to protect rare peat bog from development

MALTBY — Snohomish County leaders moved Wednesday to buy land around a rare peat bog where a developer earlier planned to build luxury homes.

The County Council unanimously voted to buy Hooven Bog for $1.6 million. The deal includes pasture land to the west that had been used for access. Along with the land acquisition, the agreement includes a developer dropping his court case seeking damages from the county over permit delays.

“If the county really wants this, I think that’s the best use,” developer Rodney Loveless said earlier this week.

Randy Whalen, a neighbor who has led efforts to protect the wetland, was overjoyed.

“I’m glad to see it happen,” Whalen said. “It could have been much longer if we had (to) go through grants and go outside the county.”

Whalen had sued to stop the county from issuing grading permits for the project. Earlier this year, the state Court of Appeals agreed to review a Superior Court judge’s decision in favor of the developer.

Loveless, 88, of Kenmore, bought the property in the 1970s. For about 30 years, he and his business partner, Robert Dillon of Kirkland, planned to develop it. About seven years ago, they began trying in earnest to build five luxury homes near the bog’s south shore.

Dillon died last month at age 90 following a short illness. The two men had worked together on commercial and residential building projects for more than 50 years.

The bog lies immediately north of the county line, less than a mile from Highway 522.

Its nutrient-poor, acidic environment is home to mats of sphagnum moss several yards thick that float in the bog water. Stunted pines and Western hemlocks grow there, along with a rare bladderwort species.

The bog waters flow to Crystal Lake and eventually to the Bear Creek stream system.

Similar wetlands are mostly confined to Snohomish and King counties, and few remain. They likely formed after glaciers retreated from Western Washington about 10,000 years ago.

Since the bog’s plight began attracting media attention this year, the county has received more than 150 letters of support from people advocating for its conservation, Deputy County Executive Mark Ericks said. The land the county is preparing to buy totals about 40 acres. County leaders still need to decide how to pay for the purchase.

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

Talk to us

More in Local News

A boat drives out of the Port of Everett Marina in front of Boxcar Park, which is one of the sites set to be elevated in preparation for rising sea levels on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
How the Port of Everett is preparing for a rising sea level

Big and little changes are in the works along the north Everett shore, though they are easy to overlook.

View of trees at 5th Avenue S and Main Street in Edmonds. (City of Edmonds)
Edmonds council: Home developers, put down those chainsaws!

A new moratorium halts the subdivision of land that has more than eight trees per 10,000 square feet.

The Avenue A/Riverfront Gazebo decorated for the holidays on Friday, Nov. 13, 2020 in Snohomish, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
The venerable Snohomish gazebo is in need of a remodel

The popular place for marriage proposals is in disrepair and is expected to be rebuilt in 2021.

One person hospitalized after Everett house fire

The person was taken to Harborview Medical Center after the Sperry Lane home caught fire.

A major fire broke out on the Everett waterfront Monday morning in an apparently difficult location. (Sue Misao / The Herald) 20181008
Everett boater gets house arrest for fraud in marina fire

He lost his boat in a 2018 fire. But valuables he claimed were destroyed weren’t burned. He sold them on OfferUp.

Auditor: Lack of oversight led to errors in Sultan finances

For a second time, the state auditor’s office urged the city to improve its financial review process.

Local economic relief programs to get $4.5 million infusion

The new cash will go to small businesses via city grant programs and Economic Alliance Snohomish County.

New Snohomish County online guide aims to boost businesses

County officials have launched an online business directory to help shoppers find local food and wares.

Port of Everett, state offer new small business grants

Port tenants and companies affected by COVID-19 health restrictions are encouraged to apply.

Most Read