July 2009 – State & Province News
County geologic definitions are at the heart of a dispute regarding a proposed quarry in Port Angeles, where neighbors of the site have asked the Clallam County hearing examiner not to repeal the categorization of the property as an “erosion hazard.” Peninsula Daily News reports that the owners of the 40-acre Little River Quarry challenged the county’s criteria on which it based its decision not to approve the operation. The owners contend that the chance of nearby streams being affected by erosion is minimal. The erosion hazard designation requires the owners to develop a stormwater management plan that demonstrates how the quarry’s operation would protect streams from loose sediment. The county planning manager says he believes the property merits the designation because it has slopes with soil and a 40-percent grade. The county exempts such slopes if they are made up of consolidated rock, but the property owners say that terminology needs clarification. The owners also say the county did not use “best available science” since it didn’t incorporate a report from an engineering consultant that said the property has a “very minor susceptibility of any soil erosion.”
According to The Herald-Mail, opponents of a proposed Gerrardstown quarry presented a resolution opposing permitting of a mining operation to the Berkeley County Commission. In late May, commissioners voted to adopt the one-page resolution. It was presented by opposition member Len Griffith of Citizens Alliance for a Responsible Environment. After Griffith read the resolution, he told the commission that the group was supported by several thousand people and that it had obtained more than 900 signatures on one of two petitions. A spokesman for the company, Continental Brick, told the newspaper that he needed more time to review the language of the resolution before making comment. At press time, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) was waiting to receive a groundwater hydrology analysis, and the State Historic Preservation Office was waiting on additional requested information before taking action on the permit. When the DEP application is complete, residents will have the opportunity to request a public hearing.
Following a court directive, the Chippewa County Planning Commission is compiling a written list of “findings of fact” that spell out how the sand plant would affect the city. The Leader-Telegram reports that the commission held a meeting in early June and noted that if Canadian Sand and Proppants decides to pursue building a resin-coating plant on the site, it will have to bring the issue back to the planning commission. One reason why the commission is reviewing the conditional-use permit is because the company wants part of the plant to exceed the maximum height of 60 feet for a building in the city. If permitted, some of the structures would be 90 feet tall. By comparison, the city engineer noted that a nearby water tower is 150 feet tall.
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