You destroyed protected land for a housing development? That’ll be $90,000

A landowner is on the hook for $90,000 after destroying two protected wetlands in hopes of expanding a planned housing development in Puyallup.

Richard Leone, of Gig Harbor, will also have to pay for all costs related to restoring the 1  1/2 acres of wetlands, according to the state Department of Ecology.

Officials said it may take up to 50 years for the wetlands to come back.

After learning that Leone hired a contractor in November to drain, clear and fill the wetlands, Pierce County fined him $5,000 and revoked the plan to develop the property.

Leone took steps in 2005 to develop the property at 17320 82nd Avenue East and in 2014, the county approved a preliminary plan for a 48-lot housing development.

The plans clearly marked the two protected wetlands, officials said.

“Mr. Leone documented the wetlands in a report submitted to Pierce County, so he was fully aware of their locations and took specific, targeted steps to destroy them,” said Perry Lund, section manager for Ecology’s Shorelands and Environmental Assistance program.

Leone has 30 days to pay the fine or appeal it.

Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653