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.

Talk to us

More in Local News

A wanted suspect was arrested after a standoff with law enforcement Tuesday night. (Bothell Police Department)
Kidnapping suspect arrested after standoff in Bothell

A large police presence contained the property in the 20500 block of 32nd Dr. SE on Tuesday night.

Community Transit's Lynnwood microtransit pilot project is set to launch this fall with a service area around the Alderwood mall. (Community Transit)
Lynnwood’s microtransit test begins this fall, others possible

Community Transit could launch other on-demand services in Arlington, Darrington and Lake Stevens.

Doctor Thomas Robey sits in a courtyard at Providence Regional Medical Center on Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
‘It’d be a miracle’: Providence tests new treatment for meth addiction

Monoclonal antibodies could lead to the first drug designed to fight meth addiction. Everett was chosen due to its high meth use.

Rev. Barbara Raspberry, dressed in her go-to officiating garments, sits in the indoor chapel at her home, the Purple Wedding Chapel, on Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022, in Everett, Washington. The space used to be two bedrooms, but she and her husband Don took down a wall converted them into a room for wedding ceremonies the day after their youngest son moved out over 20 years ago. The room can seat about 20 for in-person ceremonies, plus it serves as a changing room for brides and is the setting for virtual weddings that Raspberry officiates between brides and their incarcerated fiancees at the Monroe Correctional Complex. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Everett’s oh-so-colorful Purple Wedding Chapel is in the red

Rev. Rasberry has hitched hundreds of couples over the years. After her husband died, she’s unsure if she can keep the place.

Everett
Man dies in motorcycle crash that snarled I-5 in Everett

Washington State Patrol: he tried to speed by another driver but lost control and hit the shoulder barrier.

Washington Secretary of State Steve Hobbs, right, a Democrat, and Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson, left, running as a nonpartisan, take part in a debate, Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022, in Olympia, Wash., with Melissa Santos, center, of Axios Local, moderating. Hobbs and Anderson are seeking to fill the remaining two years of the term of Republican Secretary of State Kim Wyman, who left to take a key election security job in the Biden administration. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Sparks fly as Hobbs, Anderson face off in secretary of state debate

Julie Anderson called Steve Hobbs an “inexperienced political appointee.” He’s been in the job since Inslee put him there in November.

Zion Wright, 6, makes a face as Cecilia Guidarrama starts to massage cold facial cleanser onto his face during Evergreen Beauty College’s annual back-to-school beauty event on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Dozens of kids get free back-to-school haircuts in Everett

For hours on Wednesday, training beauticians pampered families at the Everett campus of Evergreen Beauty College.

Jose Espinoza Aguilar appears in court via video for arraignment Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022, at Snohomish County Superior Court in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Prosecutors: ‘Danger’ shot man in head ‘without provocation or warning’

Jose Espinoza Aguilar had just been released from prison in May for another shooting. He now faces charges of first-degree assault.

Former public works site at 1201 Bonneville Ave is slated for affordable in housing in the Midtown District of Snohomish, Washington on April 21, 2022. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
‘Small step’ toward affordable housing is big debate in Snohomish

Four months of public hearings have hinged on how much more taxpayers could shell out if the city offers a developer a break.

Most Read