Concerns about Plans for Proposed Expansion of the Yacolt Mountain Quarry
Dear Members and Friends of East Fork Community Coalition,
The operator of the Yacolt Mountain Quarry (YMQ) has begun the process of expanding YMQ south onto the land recently added to the Surface Mining Overlay (SMO) by the Clark County Council. The stated reason by the operator for the SMO expansion was for only storing overburden from the existing quarry. However there was much concern in the community that SMO expansion could result in the expanded area also being mined. During the Council hearings to consider the request to expand the SMO last December, the operator agreed to have a covenant placed on the land in the expanded SMO that would prohibit mining of that land for 10 years. The Council accepted the proposed covenant and granted the SMO expansion.
The operator submitted paperwork to begin the process of applying for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) and on May 9, 2019 a Pre-Application Conference was held by the operator and the Community Development Department of Clark County. In a surprise move, the operator announced its intent to apply for a CUP for both overburden storage on and subsequent mining of the area in the expanded SMO. The mining would supposedly take place some time after the 10 year covenant expires. It would be more appropriate for any mining expansion to be addressed in the upcoming Growth Management update rather than approved now ahead of that update. On May 16, 2019, Community Development issued its “Pre-Application Final Report”. In the final report the county ruled “…that the County will not accept an application that includes future mining on the site until the time frames noted in the covenant are met”. The operator has appealed that ruling and a Hearing Examiner will hear arguments in a hearing on August 22, 2019 at 6:00pm at the sixth floor Hearing room at 1300 Franklin St, Vancouver, WA.
East Fork Community Coalition is opposed the expansion of the SMO and will oppose the granting of a CUP for the land in the expanded area. The operator’s announced plans are to eventually excavate the mountain down to 1500 feet. In addition to the awful visual implications of those plans, there are very serious concerns for air and water quality, noise, landslides and much more.
If the operator wins the appeal and then subsequently is granted a CUP for both overburden storage and eventual mining, our community will have limited options. The operator will not need to seek County approval again before executing its plan.
There could be fifty years or more of mining on the site and the County and its citizens will have very little recourse to reduce the negative impacts on our community.
East Fork Community Coalition will present strong arguments against the appeal.
We encourage everyone who can attend the hearing on August 22, 2019 to do so and to voice opposition to the appeal. It is important for the Hearing Examiner to know that there is wide spread opposition to expansion of the quarry and particularly to the inclusion of mining in the current application. Those who speak up should also submit a written version of their comments.
Those who cannot attend or who are reluctant to speak out in public are encouraged to submit written comments as soon as possible, addressed to “Hearing Examiner”. Please include your name, address, and how long you’ve lived in the area.
Send to Jan.Bazala@clark.wa.gov
and if we may use it, please send a copy to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Letters can also be sent to the newspapers. These are best sent in August.
Jacob Granneman - Jacob.email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Many of you have submitted comments on the quarry in the past and it is important that those comments be repeated and submitted for this hearing. The Hearing Examiner needs to hear how the quarry is affecting your lives through noise, dust, blasting, deteriorating roads, concern for school buses and children, traffic and more. This is important and we need to present a strong, united front. Protection of our community is extremely important and requires our best efforts. Please take the time to help, and forward this email to others concerned.
Dick Leeuwenburg, President
Contact Your Councilors
or Board Staff
This correspondence is subject to public disclosure according to the public records act (RCW 42.56). Absent applicable exemptions, Clark County may be required to release your name and/or information submitted in this communication upon request.
Mine operators appeal county decision
Prohibition on mining applications spur filing.
The operators of the Yacolt Mountain Mine have filed an appeal on restrictions stemming from a recent expansion of a mining overlay on their property, alleging that though they signed a covenant preventing mining on the expansion for 10 years it didn’t mean they couldn’t apply to do so before time was up.