Damage to property protected by the Sonoma Land Trust

9 May 2019

Sonoma County couple ordered to pay over $586,000 for damage to protected property

Source: Santa Rosa Press Democrat

In a court judgment that was finalized last week, Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Patrick Broderick ordered Peter and Toni Thompson to pay more than $586,000 in damages toward environmental restoration and other costs. The Thompsons purchased a protected piece of land on the north flank of Sonoma Mountain. “But while the Thompsons were building their new estate home on their ranch in 2014, they apparently decided the oak trees from the easement property would provide a nice accent,” land trust representatives said.

The picture above shows a 180-year-old oak uprooted and bound so it could be dragged to an adjoining parcel to adorn the grounds of a newly constructed estate home, according to court documents. The records indicate that this heritage oak and two others that the landowners sought to move over a haul road they bulldozed through the previously undisturbed site all died, along with a dozen more trees and other vegetation.

The full extent of the losses discovered on the 34-acre conservation property included grading for a haul road in 2014 that removed more than 3,000 cubic yards of dirt and rock. No permits were obtained for any of the work, according to court documents.

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