Homeowner group accused of tree cutting settles for $360K

SEATTLE (AP) — The city of Seattle will collect $360,000 from a group of West Seattle homeowners accused of having public trees cut down to improve their views.

The Seattle Times reports the settlement announced Monday is the second reached in connection with the destruction of more than an acre of greenbelt.

In 2016, City Attorney Pete Holmes brought civil lawsuits seeking $1.6 million in damages and fines against two groups of homeowners for the illegal cutting.

The first group agreed to settle for $440,000, which means the city will collect a total of $800,000 for the loss of more than 150 trees, including many big-leaf maples and Scouler’s willows, near the 3200 block of 35th Avenue Southwest.

The city is using the money from the settlements to restore the West Seattle greenbelt and other areas.