SEATTLE - Another round of residents have agreed to pay the City of Seattle hundreds of thousands in fines for an illegal tree cutting job behind their homes.
The group of neighbors allegedly hired crews to cut down the trees to improve the view from their properties.
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“Every Seattleite suffers a loss when someone intentionally damages public lands,” said Councilmember Debora Juarez. “This settlement not only empowers the city to restore the affected area, it also sends the clear message that this offensive behavior will not be tolerated.”
After homeowners in West Seattle cut rows of trees down in late 2015, the city brought two lawsuits against separate groups of homeowners. More than 150 trees were cut down, including big leaf maples. The tree cutting was not permitted and took place on a steep hillside.
The first lawsuit was settled in 2017 — a group of neighbors agreed to pay $440,000 for the offense. The second lawsuit was settled this week — this group of neighbors will pay $360,000. That brings the total settlements to $800,000.
Restoration after tree cutting
That money from both settlements is going toward restoring the hillside behind the neighbors’ homes. So far, the city has placed more than 5,500 plants, including 620 new trees.
“Saplings now adorn a hillside where the trees once stood, though it will be decades before our West Seattle greenbelt is truly restored,” Councilmember Lisa Herbold said. “Thank you to City Attorney Holmes and his team for securing this $360,000 settlement, in addition to the $440,000 settlement from last spring; I expect these clear consequences will make someone think twice before considering arboricide in the future. I’m glad the funds will be going to restore this greenbelt, and other greenbelts in Seattle.”
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