A new article in the April (2013) Whatcom Watch, begins with a description of the Feb. 13 Whatcom County Hearing Examiner’s meeting:
“This is an organization totally out of control. They do whatever they want whenever they want … all without permits.” Whatcom County Hearing Examiner Michael Bobbink had finally lost patience. He continued, saying he would seriously consider completely closing down the Lummi Island quarry operation and asked the county to research his legal authority to do so.
The angry outburst took place during a February 13 briefing for Lummi Rock LLC and Whatcom County Planning and Development Services. The owner of the Lummi Island quarry was appearing before the Hearing Examiner as a followup to their October 2012 appeal hearing.
The next update meeting with the Hearing Examiner will be Wednesday, April 10 at 1:30 pm. This will be the second status update meeting, and will include discussion about scheduling a hearing for another Administrative Appeal filed by Lummi Island Rock LLC on the latest violation notice from the Whatcom County Planning And Development Services. The most recent violation involved the quarry operator’s middle of the night barge hauling operations being conducted outside of permitted hours which were causing sleep disturbance to nearby residents. The meeting will be held at the County Council Chambers, 311 Grand Ave. in Bellingham.Read the full agenda.
Once again, it’s important for everyone who can to attend the meeting. The Hearing Examiner has noted the high level of public interest, so having a sizable audience is having a favorable impact.
Whatcom County Planning and Development Services (PDS) has issued a new Notice of Violation to Lummi Island Rock LLC / Aggregates West, operators of the gravel quarry on Lummi Island. The latest violations have to do with middle of the night barge operations which have continued despite efforts by the County to get the company to comply with permitted hours of operation. (See related article for more details.) Continue reading →
Here’s an article by Ralph Schwarz from the 2/14/13 Bellingham Herald about the Wednesday, Feb. 13 hearing before the Whatcom County Hearing Examiner, Michael Bobbink, in which the quarry operators and the County Planning and Development Services staff presented updates since the previous hearing on pending applications, Stop Work Orders appeals, and recent additional violations:
In our last article we announced that the Whatcom County Hearing Examiner, Michael Bobbink, had scheduled a hearing on January 16th to hear updates from Lummi Rock / Aggregates West LLC (operators of the quarry on Lummi Island) and the Whatcom County Planning and Development Services (PDS).
This meeting has been RESCHEDULED for Wednesday, February 13th, at 1:30pm in the County Council Chambers in Bellingham. Continue reading →
It’s hard to believe it was clear back in October (2012) when the Whatcom County Hearing Examiner heard the appeal by Lummi Rock / Aggregates West LLC, operators of the gravel quarry on Lummi Island, on the Stop Work Orders which had been issued by the County’s Planning and Development Services (PDS). Over 40 people turned up to show support for the County PDS staff and the actions they had taken to enforce the laws regarding the quarry operation. Now the findings have been reported. Continue reading →
by Meredith Moench (Article was originally published in the Whatcom Watch, and is reprinted by permission.)
British mining company, Astar Minerals PLC, had its eye on local assets. Publicly traded and headquartered in London, Astar Minerals operates quarries in British Columbia. On November 12 they announced failure of a deal with Whatcom County’s Aggregates West, Inc. whereby the UK company would have taken over the American company’s operations and further “developed” company mining sites in Washington. Unable to raise the financing needed to finalize the agreement, Astar Minerals has announced suspension of trading and termination of the agreement. Continue reading →
Lummi Rock/Aggregates West LLC, who operate the quarry on Lummi Island, have filed to appeal Stop Work Orders the County has issued to them. The Stop Work Orders were for:
Use of “unpermitted commercial pier facility (barge loading structure and conveyor equipment) resulting in an emergency situation where there is a significant threat to the environment.”
Use of “unpermitted development including installation and/or use of moorage dolphins for accessory moorage of barges within and/or abutting mapped eelgrass beds, resulting in an emergency situation where there is a significant threat to the environment.”.
Use of illegal access road built outside the permitted operating area.
The work orders were previously upheld at administrative pre-deprivation hearings with Whatcom County Planning and Development Services (PDS). You can read the hearing findings documents (follow the links from the July 23, 2012, item).
Now they are being appealed at the next level with the Hearing Examiner. (Read more information about the Hearing Examiner System on the County’s website. )
County PDS staff have been willing to take a tough stand and hold Lummi Rock accountable for their multiple violations of the County’s Shoreline Management Plan regulations. They have asked for a strong show of community support for the work they have done and actions they have taken. When asked how support could best be demonstrated, they said, “By people attending the appeal hearing.” A good-sized crowd will visibly demonstrate public concern about the quarry issues.
The appeal hearing will be on Wednesday, October 17 at 1:30pm in the County Council Chambers. Council Chambers are on the ground floor of the County Court House building at 311 Grand Avenue in Bellingham. Here’s a link with map and directions from the Gooseberry Pt. ferry dock: http://goo.gl/maps/P16VY
On July 23rd, Whatcom County Planning & Development Services (WCPDS) sent a certified letter to Aggregates West/Lummi Rock advising owner David Grainger of the following actions:
Final actions on two stop work orders after a June administrative pre-deprivation hearing. The stop work orders had to do with use of illegal moorage and conveyor operations at the Lummi Island quarry. WCPDS upheld the stop work orders, and ordered the company to fully comply within 3 days of the letter, or WCPDS would begin to levy fines of at least $1,000 per day per violation. Continue reading →
Whatcom County Planning and Development Services (PDS) has issued a Stop Work order on the unpermitted barge pier at the quarry, and has ordered removal of all conveyor loading equipment. They also issued a Shoreline violation for the unpermitted accessory moorage (by Abner Point, outside their Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Aquatic lands lease boundaries) , and ordered all “parked” barges removed from the area.
Additionally, the County PDS issued a fine of $1000 for non-compliance with the January Stop Work order on the illegal access road. The road is outside the permitted area.
Finally, they have ordered immediate compliance with the requirement for an engineered stormwater pollution prevention system plan as ordered in the November 2011 shoreline violation notice. Compliance must take place before the retroactive shoreline permit applications can be further considered.