Replace to Clark County floor mining map stirs concern, criticism

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Residents close to Chelatchie Bluff thought an utility that might sometime enable floor mining of gravel on 330 acres close to their properties was lifeless.

In spite of everything, the Clark County Council held a public listening to on the applying March 15 after which took a vote — which didn’t move.

However not too long ago, neighbors noticed an indication promoting a July 19 rehearing by the county council.

The residents had good motive to imagine the matter had been put to relaxation when the movement failed to realize the required three votes. However Councilor Gary Medvigy requested county lawyer Christine Prepare dinner if the problem may very well be reconsidered when the council, which solely had three members current on March 15, might meet with not less than 4 councilors current.

Any movement made by the five-member council will need to have a minimal of three votes to move. On the March 15 assembly, Medvigy and Council Chair Karen Bowerman voted for it; Councilor Temple Lentz voted in opposition to. With out three “sure” votes, the movement failed.

“My workplace has regarded into the problem of reconsideration. With the intention to have a legitimate movement for reconsideration … the movement to rethink should come from the aspect that prevailed within the first place,” Prepare dinner mentioned. “It couldn’t come from a councilor voting for the movement.”

However the losers prevailed Tuesday. Councilor Richard Rylander Jr., who joined the council in Could, made a movement to “renew the movement that was initially made and defeated on March 15 … for the aim of conducting a public listening to on the request.”

In a July 15 electronic mail, Medvigy wrote the prosecuting lawyer’s workplace had provide you with the process to rethink the applying.

“I had requested we modify our reconsideration procedures to raised tackle 2-2 and 2-1 votes. Robert’s Guidelines (of Order) are insufficient for a legislative physique underneath these slender and inconclusive votes,” Medvigy wrote.

A protracted debate

Gravel mining has lengthy been a contentious difficulty in Clark County.

On this case, opponents say the Chelatchie Bluff space, which lies east of Amboy and south of Lake Merwin, comprises environmentally delicate wetlands that will be devastated by any type of mining.

Granite Development is leasing land from BRP, LLC, a subsidiary of Pure Useful resource Companions, and needs to mine rock mixture.

In 2011, the county appointed a Mineral Lands Process Drive to make suggestions to the floor mining overlay map, complete plan insurance policies and growth requirements based mostly on the brand new stock map and Progress Administration Act rules. Whereas the duty drive didn’t advocate together with the 4 Chelatchie Bluff parcels, it did advocate including a 30-acre parcel that abuts the Chelatchie Rock quarry. That quarry’s allow was terminated by the state Division of Pure Sources.

It’s not simply residents involved about mining actions at Chelatchie Bluff. The Buddies of Clark County beforehand appealed the dedication of non-significance issued in the course of the State Environmental Coverage Act assessment.

Ann Foster, vp of Buddies of Clark County’s board of administrators, mentioned there are three main factors of competition. The primary is the reconsideration of the applying and the method for that reconsideration. The second is environmental and livability impacts from mining on this space, which she mentioned has been ignored. The third is an absence of public engagement by the county.

“That is the central theme all through many of the county’s points,” Foster mentioned.

With the county offering authorized discover solely to residents inside 1,000 ft of the property, Foster mentioned the Buddies group reached out to make extra folks conscious of what’s taking place.

Jim Byrne, a retired fish biologist for the state Division of Fish and Wildlife, has studied fish populations in Chelatchie Creek and Cedar Creek for years.

“The Division of Fish and Wildlife has designated streams there as essential habitat. There’s three endangered fish species that reside there. The county has recognized unstable slopes, landslide areas, on their maps. There’s wetlands. However on the subject of placing this ahead, the county points a dedication of non-significance,” Byrne mentioned. “That simply doesn’t fly within the face of actuality.”

Richard Dyrland, a former hydrologist, can be on the board of Buddies of Clark County and Buddies of the East Fork Lewis River. Dyrland mentioned it’s not simply the wetlands that will probably be in danger but in addition the watershed, which supplies water to a number of cities.

“They principally ignored a number of key issues on floor and groundwater. The (U.S. Geological Survey) did a report on that space … that mentioned this watershed particularly may be very distinctive within the space in that many of the water that helps these (threatened and endangered) species comes from the higher one-fourth of the watershed,” Dyrland mentioned.

Down the road

Councilor Julie Olson mentioned issues about mining within the space are legitimate, however they might be thought of and addressed if and when Granite Development seeks a conditional use allow for mining.

“We’re not approving a mine. We’re not approving a undertaking. We’re approving an amended map replace to the excellent progress administration plan and zoning maps so as to add a surfacing mining overlay. Any future undertaking, any future mining actions, has to undergo an entire course of — extra intensive than what we heard this night,” Olson mentioned. “I respect the issues of these within the space. They’re legitimate and people will all be legitimate when the time comes and the applicant presents a request for mining exercise.”

Medvigy mentioned there are guidelines and processes in place to deal with environmental issues however “we’re not there but.”

Rylander additionally famous there’s a actual want for mixture within the county and mentioned maybe siting a mine right here might alleviate the issue with out introducing the noise, site visitors and environmental impacts seen at different mines within the county.

“This facility might probably make use of the railroad in some vogue and get these vehicles off the street,” he mentioned.

Though Rylander earlier abstained from voting on one other matter as a result of he mentioned he wasn’t on the council when the matter was first mentioned, he didn’t voice related reservations about voting on the floor mining overlay utility.


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