By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News
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Iron Mountain LLC of Bothell seeks to develop a 142-acre quarry on Pope Resources land near Port Ludlow, and has been involved in a permit process dating back to 2007.
In January, the state Department of Transportation issued the results of a traffic impact analysis that said that “the proposed Iron Mountain Quarry will have a significant adverse traffic impact on [state Highway] 104.”
The letter from Development Services Engineer Dale Severson to DCD planner David Johnson said that when the quarry is in operation, it could cause state Highway 104 “to reach a level of service failure because of the vehicles generated by IMQ, namely the heavy, slower moving trucks . . . heading east toward Hood Canal Bridge and Kitsap County.”
Severson suggested five specific highway improvements such as an expanded lane and a turnaround cul-de-sac, recommending that IMQ pay for these improvements.
The recommendations were taken into account, said Stacie Hoskins, who was acting as DCD director when the determination of non-significance was issued.
“We considered the letter,” Hoskins said.
“We decided not to do anything right away, but to link the improvements to a point in time when the engineering data shows that they are needed.”
This includes measuring the tonnage of the material moved from the quarry and timing the traffic gaps on state Highway 20.
Trucks turning onto the highway from the quarry will need to make a left turn where there is no traffic signal.
IMQ president Jim Burnett said on Thursday that many of the concerns raised by Severson’s letter had been addressed in subsequent correspondence.
“The decision of non-significance stands on its own,” he said.
“The concerns raised in the letter were not part of the SEPA (State Environmental Policy Act) requirements.”
DCD’s decision prompted a reaction from Burt Loomis of Port Ludlow, a longtime opponent of the IMQ project.
One day after the DCD’s determination of non-significance, Loomis wrote state Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond, asking if the state department intended to file an appeal to seek compliance with mitigation requirements.
“Unfortunately, this decision is consistent with a 20-year pattern of the county’s complete disregard for due process and the Port Ludlow community’s well being,” Loomis said in the letter to Hammond.
“Our community must now rely solely upon state government to protect our interests,” he said.
Transportation spokesman Kevin Dayton said that his agency will respond to Loomis’ letter, but that it will not interfere in the county’s decision in regard to the recommendations.
“The county received the letter and decided that our recommended action was not necessary, which is their prerogative,” he said.
“There is no appellate process and we won’t be taking any action beyond our recommendation.”
Jefferson County Reporter Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or firstname.lastname@example.org.