Thursday, May 29, 2014

What Would You Do With $217 Million?

The former Mar Vista Resort site (San Juan Islander)
Buy a big stretch of San Juan Island shoreline, cut down trees along the shoreline, and propose building a 271-foot dock in a pocket beach to moor six boats up to 30 feet long for six single-family residences? You’d still have a lot of change left even after all that.

That’s the story thus far about Virginia Powerball winner David Honeywell who won $217 million in early 2013 and, with wife Nancy, bought and is developing the 29-acre island property previously owned and operated as Mar Vista Resort. [ “Virginia Powerball winner: Dave Honeywell identified as $200 million-plus winner” ]

David and Nancy, who both left jobs at the Defense Department, look like nice enough folks and donated $4 million to the Community Foundation of the Rappahannock River Region’s food bank and Habitat for Humanity. [ “Fredericksburg Powerball Winners Donate $4 Million to Charity”  ]

On San Juan, however, the Honeywells got crosswise when they cut down and acre of trees along their property’s shoreline without getting a permit. Worse, many felt that San Juan County’s penalty of $1,000 woefully didn’t fit the crime.

As for the dock, San Juan County, according to an article in the San Juan Islander [ “Dock proposed at former Mar Vista Resort”  ], has determined an environmental impact statement is not necessary and the permit department will not require any additional mitigation measures. The Honeywells say they will hire a marine biologist to monitor marine mammal activity during construction.

Orca Watcher Monica Wieland has a lot to say about the dock proposal in here blog, “What's wrong with a dock?

According to the San Juan Islander article:

The area borders a reserve used by the University of Washington Friday Harbor Labs.

The joint-use community dock would consist of:

  • An existing 10 x 6 foot wooden pier head shore mount.
  • An 810 sq-foot pier consisting of two fixed 6-foot wide pier sections totaling 135 feet in length.
  • A 4'8 by 45' long fully grated ramp (210 sq. feet) attached to the seaward end of the pier running to:
  • An 8'x 90 foot (720 sq. ft) moorage float
  • Ten 10" diameter galvanished steel piles.
  • The total area of the pier, ramp and float is 1,779.7 sq. ft (excluding the 23.3 ft. ramp float overlap area. The total length of the dock is approximately 271 feet.
  • The entire decking of the fixed pier, ramp and float would be constructed with light penetrating grating which would allow approximately 70 percent of the sunlight falling on the dock to pass through the structure to the seafloor below.
OK, so that’s what you can do with $217 million with change left over. And, like I said, David and Nancy Honeywell look like nice folks. After all, they probably were just like you and me before becoming millionaires.

If you have anything to say to the county about this dock permit, say it by Wednesday, June 4, and say it to the Planning Department.

--Mike Sato


  1. $1000. fine? Did they cut down an acre of doug-fir?.. say, 10,000 board feet of logs? At $500/thousand that would make it worth $5000. I don't suppose multimillionaires even consider this an impediment to their "progress", though... too bad. ^..^

  2. So San Juan Co. is unaware of state habitat recommendations for marine shorelines that discuss the harmful impacts of over water structures like docks? This should require compensatory mitigation, if it is allowed at all.

  3. If they cut trees for conversion and sold the timber without a forest practice permit, they may be eligible for a 6-year moratorium on development.