Lacey has approved a mitigation plan with a Kirkland-based developer after the group cut down several trees in the city’s Woodland Square Loop last summer.
MJR Development is set to spend about $378,000 on the landscape and replanting plan, said Lacey Councilman Lenny Greenstein during Thursday’s City Council meeting, adding that the cost to replant is more than the value of the trees that were removed.
The trees were valued at about $240,000, he said.
Councilman Michael Steadman serves on the city’s land use committee, but he was absent Thursday night, so Greenstein reported the details of the mitigation plan.
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MJR Development cut down the trees in July before they secured the correct permits. Greenstein said it was a bad circumstance at the time, but the city and developer have since worked well together.
Greenstein said he believes it was an honest mistake on the part of the developer, and that they were not trying to “pull one over” on the city, he said.
“They went above and beyond and the end result will look fantastic,” he said.
After the recession, MJR Development snapped up several mostly vacant office buildings in Woodland Square Loop, announcing a plan to renovate and bring housing to the area. A complex of buildings owned by the group was surrounded by towering firs — until they were cut down, much to the dismay of residents.
MJR Development partner Mark Lahaie said last summer it was a misunderstanding between his group and the city.
He said MJR had a tenant improvement permit in hand, which included a tree removal plan, and they proceeded based on that information. They later had to apply for a land-clearing and Class 4 forest practices permit.
“This was all above board,” Lahaie said. “We headed out and started the work, and then after the fact, we learned that the city needed a higher level of application.
“We’re happy to rectify the situation and follow all of their processes,” he said. “That was our intent to begin with.”