Department of Ecology News Release - Aug. 12, 2019
The Washington Department of Ecology and a British Columbia couple have agreed to a settlement that reduces their penalty and provides opportunities for environmental enhancement along Palmer Lake in Okanogan County.
In December 2017, Greg and Susan Newmarch of Kelowna, BC, were fined $21,600, for actions that violated both state and Okanogan County regulations designed to protect shorelines.
They were originally cited for not having permits or authorizations to build a rock retaining wall or place fill in the lake to create a pad for a residence, and other shoreline violations.
The settlement agreement resolves the Newmarches appeal of the penalty, and a related administrative order, to the state Shorelines Hearings Board. As part of the settlement, the Newmarches will remove the unpermitted fill pad and rock retaining wall, and restore the lakebed and shoreline, obtaining all necessary environmental permits before doing so.
Ecology agrees to rescind $14,100 (USD) of the penalty, reducing it to $7,500 (USD). In lieu of paying the penalty, the Newmarches will donate $2,500 to the Okanogan Conservation District to fund water quality monitoring related to algae on the lake and community education and outreach regarding proper shoreline development.
The Newmarches will be required to pay the remaining $5,000 if they fail to meet requirements of the settlement, or violate the state Shoreline Management Act anytime during the next two years.
“This settlement provides an opportunity for lakeside property owners to learn why it’s important to follow shoreline development rules, and avoid costly fines,” said Gary Graff who oversees state shoreline management activities in central Washington. “The parties agree it provides a cost-effective way to achieve our goals to protect our state’s shorelines and amicably end further litigation.”
The original order and penalty followed a notice of correction issued in November 2016, and numerous technical assistance efforts and site visits over the intervening year.
“We are looking forward to putting this behind us,” said Greg Newmarch. “We did not intend to violate any laws when we developed our property. In fact, we had a site plan approved by Okanogan County. It is our intention to fully comply with corrective actions and hope this case provides better clarity on such requirements for landowners on Washington’s lakes. We have made a donation to the Okanogan County Conservation District, to be used to better educate others.”