Opposition forms against proposed gravel operation

I received an e-mail tonight from Northlake resident Kim Adair, who told me about a meeting earlier today in which area residents organized opposition to a proposed gravel-mining operation near Kitsap Lake.

About 60 people showed up, according to notes of the meeting.
The group agreed to call itself “Concerned Citizens of the Chico Creek Water Basin.”

The primary goal of the meeting was to raise the $500 needed to appeal a final environmental impact statement (FEIS) related to the project. According to the meeting notes, the group raised $700.

The appeal must be filed by Sept. 8. The basis of the appeal, residents said, is the need to recognize the fragile environment of the watershed as well as concerns about traffic, safety, noise and the quality of life of area residents.

“It seems that the FEIS minimized or ignored some of the very real concerns these people have regarding this proposal,” states the meeting notes.

Some members of the group would like more study of roads and intersections that could be affected by trucks traveling to and from the gravel operation. The Leber Lane-Northlake Way intersection was the only one that got much attention, they said.

Some people wondered if the county commissioners could be counted on to oppose the project. The commissioners apparently were invited to Sunday’s meeting.

I’m afraid those questions appear to show a misunderstanding of the process, since the commissioners are prevented by the Appearance of Fairness Doctrine from learning much about the project outside of the hearing process. Technically, they will never rule directly on the merits of the project — though they may be asked to find errors in an eventual ruling by the Kitsap County hearing examiner.

The hearing examiner is responsible for taking testimony on the adequacy of the environmental impact statement and determining whether the project complies with county land-use rules. That hearing could come as early as Sept. 24.

Ueland Tree Farm has funded a variety of studies in support of the project. The owner, Craig Ueland, also has written letters to keep community members up to date on the project. For details, check out the company’s Web site.

6 thoughts on “Opposition forms against proposed gravel operation

  1. While I see that the Ueland’s have done extensive work on this project. To ensure the fragile balance is met in our area, regarding their project, there are just some things that they can’t, or won’t be able to, have solutions for.

    For me, it isn’t personally against the Uelands, they are probably very nice people, it’s just….. these are our homes, our roads, our children at the bus stops, and our creeks. The traffic on Northlake Way NOW is a hardly controlled, and Chico Creek Water Basin is a fragile environment. Adding the proposed project to the area doesn’t appear to be enhancing either of those situations. No matter how you dice it.

    As a community, it is our job to be good stewards of the lands and waters, not just for ourselves, or monetary gains, but for our children, and our future generations.

    Concerned Citizens of the Chico Watershed Basin have created a Facebook group site located at: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/topic.php?uid=134614023672&topic=12470

  2. This proposal threatens one of the most productive salmon-spawning areas in the Puget Sound region.

    In addition, it is clear that the Ueland Tree Farm’s Environmental Impact Statement is skewed to minimize or ignore the actual adverse impact of adding in excess of 180 heavy trucks to the already busy traffic along Northlake Way, a two-lane road passing through a residential area. The corporation seems determined to pursue this single option, refusing to consider other, potentially less damaging and dangerous alternatives.

    Kitsap County residents and taxpayers deserve to receive a realistic and honest accounting of the costs that this proposal will involve, both in its likely destruction of a fragile eco-system as well as monetary terms–something the Ueland Corporation has thus far failed to provide.

  3. Under the law, this project is a conforming use. All of the subjects mentioned, from traffic to the environment, can and probably will be mitigated. Traffic problems? The road will be made wider. Habitat lost? Enhance it elsewhere, etc. etc.
    The only alternative to this project is residential use at 1 home per 20 acres. For those who see that as preferable, just imagine how long that density will stay that low with full urban densities on the Port Blakely land right next door. Under state law land can only be zoned upward, not downward.
    Two major questions need to be answered. Will Lebers Ln. be the north access to the Port Blakely project? Will the Ueland family improve Dickerson creek or merely maintain the status quo? Now is the time to get on board and co-operate with our new neighbors, not force them into unnecessary expense for a project which is allowed by law.

  4. Well Ken, approx 3 roads from David, is where the road widening will end? Are you planning on selling? Also, look at the bigger picture; logging and mining, getting the city of Bremerton to run water out to it, will create a perfect environment for housing developments in the future, so don’t count that out totally. Companies often ask for permission, hat in hand, to develop little piece by little piece.
    I quote a meeting comment published in the Kitsap Sun. “Eventually, he may propose a housing development in the southern portion of the property, where Port Blakely has proposed building a road connecting with Werner Road.”
    They purchased the property with the notion of going out Werner Road anyway.

    In addition, the Chico Creek Water shed covers a little more than 10,000 acres. In the past 20 years, Chico Creek has averaged 19,300 adult chums returning to spawn, which is 73 percent of the chum salmon out of 11 east Kitsap County streams.

    Yes, lets just “put that elsewhere” shall we? Fortunately, the law and the treaties by the tribe dictate that some of our precious environments are more important than development and zoning.

    “Just because you CAN do something, doesn’t mean you SHOULD. Craig Ueland’s own business principal wa quoted as “First, when faced with a major business decision, I would try to do what was best for society.”
    I hope he still abides by the same principles.





  5. Sorry Kim, but the time to address your concerns as to the future of this area came and went 10 years ago. The Port Blakely land WILL be developed at urban densities. The only remaining question is whether or not all of that traffic will be forced through a north access onto Northlake Way. The design study that was part of the Subarea Plan that was passed 10 years ago contains recommendations for widening Northlake Way to 4 lanes, Chico Way to 4 lanes, and adding numerous traffic lights at almost every intersection in the area.
    The time to work WITH the Uelands is now. None of their plans are set in stone except that some level of mining activity to allow them to realize a return on their investment should be allowed.
    To answer your question, yes, I would sell some of my land to guarantee that the Creeks are protected from residential development.

  6. Ken,
    I personally don’t feel the residents impacted by this proposal have a responsability to insure Mr. Ueland makes a return on his investment. The investment was his decision alone and he should have considered all potential risk. I also don’t feel that his decision to make this investment should necessarily result in a risk to the environment of this area in any way. I don’t personally object to the present zoning of urban developement allowing one dwelling per 20 acres. When you increase that to the mining operation it becomes an entirely different issue, which increases the risk to the property at lower elevations (property and road damage suffered already from recent years of large rains), including all the wetlands and streams tributary to Chico Creek.

    You, of course, have a right to your opinion and I respect that right.

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