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Logging in Picnic Point to continue


Last updated 12/12/2018 at Noon

The construction crews got a lot of work done at the new Frognal Estates site last week. This photo was taken Wednesday, Dec. 5, while the second one at the bottom of the story was taken Friday, Dec. 7.

The battle over the construction of houses in Picnic Point took a big turn over the last week, as residents blocked trucks with their cars, one car was towed, and a judge granted a temporary stay of construction before concluding logging could continue.

That judge issued her decision Tuesday, Dec. 11, which will allow for logging on the Frognal Estates project to continue.

The project, which will put in over 100 houses in Picnic Point behind Regatta Estates on 58th Place West off 136th Place Southwest, has been discussed at length for over a decade. Crews arrived early last week to start logging.

The city of Mukilteo has discussed annexation in the past, including annexing the Picnic Point area. The project is taking place near Picnic Point Elementary, an elementary school in the Mukilteo School District.

The project was initially called Horseman's Trail, and as long as it has been discussed, residents in the area have made it very clear to Snohomish County, the state of Washington and other nearby legal municipalities that they don’t think the construction of more than 100 new houses is safe. They argue the area proposes significant risks for landslides from a mix of rain and erosion.

Representatives from Integral Northwest, an Everett-based real estate developer, met with planners from Snohomish County two weeks ago to discuss the upcoming work, and crews started work Monday, Dec. 3.

The project’s opponents have appealed it in the past, and the case made it to the state’s Court of Appeals, where judges ruled in favor of the developer earlier this spring.

Last Tuesday, the Sno-King Watershed Council (SKWC), a local nonprofit, filed a petition with King County Superior Court to put an immediate stop to crews logging and clearing at the site until a scheduled hearing on forestry and grading in February.

The hearing on SWKC’s petition regarding logging took place last Friday morning, and King County Superior Judge Barbara Linde granted a temporary stop to logging while she reviewed evidence from both sides.

Linde released her decision on Tuesday, which denied the SKWC’s request for a stay (stoppage) in the logging.

William Lider, a stormwater and erosion control engineer who has been against the Frognal project, reached out to The Beacon to give an update regarding Linde’s decision.

“This order will allow Frognal Estates to clear-cut the site and grade approximately 14,000 cubic yards of earth directly above homes in the Regatta Estates subdivision,” Lider said. “In her order, Judge Linde gave no reason or explanation as to why SKWC’s motion for a temporary stay was denied. SKWC feels that Snohomish County has not been enforcing its code requirements on the Frognal project and will continue to monitor and point out project failures and code violations as they become apparent.

“SKWC will review the judge’s order and make a decision shortly on further action in this case.”

SKWC’s next hearing on the project is Feb. 15.

Parking dispute

On Dec. 3, when word got out to nearby residents that logging and grading was going to be starting, many residents parked their cars along the sides of 58th Place West, which has just three houses on one side of the road in a small cul-de-sac, so trucks could not drive in to the work area.

Courtney O’Keefe from the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office said officers responded to the site that day where protestors were blocking truck access. No tickets were given, but officers informed the protestors that their cars needed to be parked legally.

The drama continued later into the week as deputies returned to the area on Dec. 5.

“After Monday’s incident, deputies had to further investigate the legality of the situation,” O’Keefe said. “Deputies investigated and did research on current permits and found that these individuals do have legal access to the property and have the right to access it.”

O’Keefe said officers found the cars were in violation of multiple state codes “pertaining to blocking access to a person’s property who has the legal right to be there.”

All cars were moved except one, which was towed.

Sonja Voice is the owner of the towed car, and was very upset.

Voice said when she parked her car, there were no “no parking” signs on the street, and that she was at work when her car was towed. She said she is filing complaints with Frognal, Aero Construction, Snohomish County’s Department of Planning, Snohomish County Prosecutor’s Office, and with two officers.

Construction on Friday, Dec. 10.

She sent an email to the parties stated, as well as The Beacon, where she talked about her experience.

“I spoke with Mary’s Towing … from the office of Mark Roe (Snohomish County Prosecuting Attorney), and officer Sorenson. All parties were defensive and pointed the finger at each other,” she said in her email. “Officer Sorenson first told my neighbors and friends it was the prosecuting attorney’s office who authorized the tow.”

A representative from the Snohomish County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office told The Beacon that Roe did not give direction to the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office to initiate the towing of vehicles, and that their office isn’t responsible for the issue at hand.

Author Bio

Brandon Gustafson, Editor, Mukilteo Beacon

Brandon Gustafson was named editor of the Mukilteo Beacon in October, 2017. Born and raised in Mukilteo, Brandon attended Mukilteo Elementary, Olympic View Middle School, and Kamiak High School, graduating in 2013. After high school, Brandon attended Shoreline Community College, earning his associate's degree while playing for the school's baseball team. He then transferred to the University of Washington, where he graduated in 2017 with a bachelor's degree in communications-journalism.

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 425-347-5634
Twitter: @MukBeaconBPG


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