Lake Erie Gravel Mine Expansion – Public Hearing

June 14, 2023

Skagit County Hearing Examiner Public Hearing on Lake Erie Gravel Pit slope stability risk.

Expansion of the Lake Erie Gravel Pit Mining Operation from ~18 acres to approximately ~54 acres.

On June 28, 2023, at approximately 1pm, the Skagit County hearing examiner will hold a hearing to decide whether the applicant for the Lake Erie gravel pit has properly evaluated any increased risk of landslides that his proposed mine would cause for the communities to the west/northwest of the mine.

The applicant hasn’t conducted the new studies of that risk that the County directed him to do so in March 2021.

In a letter to the applicant on March 23, 2021, the Skagit County Planning and Development Services notified him that he needed to:

  • Analyze the landslide risk arising from the potential for increased groundwater migration to the west/northwest of the mine due to the proposed expansion and attendant removal of soil and vegetation which could alter groundwater behavior in the vicinity of the mine.
  • Analyze the presence of springs on the coastal bluff to the northwest of the mine that are at an elevation down gradient of the inferred groundwater level.
  • Respond to the testimony of the professional geologist who identified that the proposed mine expansion will create an increased landslide risk.

Instead of answering those questions, the applicant’s report only refers to an earlier report –  a report that was already rejected by the Board of County Commissioners as inadequate.

  • According to Dan McShane, our consulting licensed engineering geologist and the expert who identified the flaws in the initial report, the new document:
  • did not analyze the potential groundwater flow direction, 
  • did not analyze the springs on the shoreline bluffs to the west and northwest of the pit, and 
  • did not reference his testimony or the issue of increased groundwater toward the shoreline bluff.

The applicant must do more than just recycle his old report that was already found to be deficient. He must analyze the risk that clearing and mining 35 acres will increase groundwater flow to shoreline bluffs that already experience erosion. This MUST be done before the County can properly review the mine application.

In your communications with the County, please state these issues and focus on these, so that the Hearings Examiner, the County Planning Department, and the County Commissioners UNDERSTAND that we as a community expect accountability.

Please Comment!
Your comments are critical because they add to the public outcry against this proposal.
In the Mount Erie Clearcut decision, the Hearing Examiner noted, “The numerous statements in opposition decried the anticipated effect …”

Comments must be received by Planning and Development Services no later than 4:30 PM Tuesday, June 27, 2023, or be presented at the public hearing. E-mail comments may be submitted with the PDS website under the “Public Notices and Comment Opportunities” tab or to the Office of the Hearing Examiner.
Staff contact: Kevin Cricchio, AICP, ISA, Senior Planner; (360) 416-1423
Submit comments online here.
https://www.skagitcounty.net/Departments/PlanningAndPermit/commentsform.htm

Please fill out the form below completely to comment on Permit Applications and Appeals.
Full Name: First Name, Middle Name, Last Name
Mailing Address:
City:
State:
Zip:
Email:
Proposal Name or Permit Number: Special Use Permit Application PL16-0556
Comments:

Please note: Any information submitted to Skagit County will be subject to public disclosure under the Public Records Act (RCW 42.56)

Be prepared for public hearing
At the Hearing before the Hearing Examiner, you will testify at the podium. You will be asked to give your name and your address before you begin speaking.
Your comments should be clear and concise; if you need to refer to specific written documents you can place a paper copy into the box at the hearing.

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