Chelan Douglas Land Trust Sues Over Property Owner’s Earth Moving Actions
The Chelan Douglas Land Trust is suing a property owner who used heavy equipment to carve into a hillside in No. 1 Canyon west of Wenatchee.
The Land Trust claims the property owner's excavation extensively damaged the Trust's adjacent land and led to the Trust losing funding for 50 percent of the value of that land.
The Land Trust filed its lawsuit this month, after the county issued a stop work order to the property owner in May, and filed its own lawsuit.
The lawsuit from the Land Trust is asking for damages to be proven at trial, among other things.
The Land Trust has conservation goals that include preserving its property for the benefit of wildlife and recreationists.
At issue are two Land Trust easements that the Trust claims were damaged by the property owner, Tyler Chambers, during his earth moving with heavy equipment.
Both the Land Trust and Chambers own land in the 3300 block of No. 1 Canyon Road, which sit in foothills.
The Land Trust's property is 'land locked' by Chambers' property, meaning it's completely surrounded Chambers' property. The Trust has two easements allowing it access its land by traveling through Chambers' property.
The Land Trust claims Chambers' excavation work damaged the easements to the point where they were useless as well as a safety hazard.
The Trust also claims the excavation carved into and damaged its property. The lawsuit asserts Chambers' excavation work removed hillside support, causing cubic tons of dirt and rock to slide off of the Land Trust's property, killing the natural plant life and allowing invasive species to begin growing on the Trust's property.
The lawsuit says that Chambers did not request or receive permission to enter or physically affect the trust’s property when he began moving dirt on his property.
The suit specifies that Chambers requested a modification to the land trust’s easements, but then started excavation work before any agreement was reached on relocation of the Trust's easements, and without first requesting or receiving permission to enter the Trust's land.
In addition to damages, the lawsuit asks for the Land Trust's attorney's fees to be reimbursed, and for the Trust's easements to be relocated on Chamber's property.