Tree cutting draws county response

Earlier this year on Van Olinda Road, many trees were pruned extensively, some of which belonged to the owner of the property responsible for the cutting and some of which were on King County and private property.

Both the King County Sheriff’s Office and the Department of Permitting and Environmental Review (DPER) have investigated. Spokesman for the sheriff’s office, Sgt. Ryan Abott, said that the King County Prosecutor’s Office had declined to bring charges, leaving the matter to DPER.

However, sheriff’s of-fice spokeswoman Sgt. Christine Elias said that arson investigators are looking into an incident that occurred at the home of the person who had the trees cut down. (Because he was not charged with a crime, The Beachcomber is not identifying him.)

Elias said that on March 17, he found that his mailbox had been damaged. An unknown suspect had tried to light the PVC pipe supporting the mailbox on fire, but it did not ignite. The mailbox had also been removed and thrown in the bushes with a note calling the resident a “tree killer,” Elias said. That investigation remains open.

At DPER, public documents state that numerous 50-foot trees had approximately 30 feet removed. They are within a critical area buffer for a landslide hazard and wetland area as well as along the county right of way. The required permits and inspections were not received.

Code Enforcement Officer Nick Stephens said he has mailed notices of the violation to the person who ordered the tree cutting as well as David Kappler, whose trees were cut without his permission.

Because King County officials work only with property owners, both parties were ordered to pay $702 for the proper permits and approvals for the cutting that has been done. They will also be responsible for paying for any remediation the county deems necessary.

Kappler said he intends to hire an attorney to recoup his financial losses.

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