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Proposed gravel mine has Kitsap Lake residents worried

At a hearing Tuesday, a group of neighbors calling themselves the Concerned Citizens of Chico Creek Water Basin offered their opposition to the proposal by Craig Ueland to transform 152 acres of his 1,700-acre tree farm into a gravel-mining facility.

Kitsap County Hearing Examiner Kim Allen listened to testimony from several Northlake Way residents and others from around the Kitsap Lake area who originally filed an appeal with the Kitsap County Department of Community Development two months ago.

Of most interest in this case is the potential increase of up to 186 trips by large trucks using Northlake Way.

“The traffic analysis was very incomplete,” said Linda Laine, one of the concerned residents. “Only one intersection, Leber Lane and Northlake Way, was studied in November 2007 by Parametrix. This needs to be looked into.”

Another issue raised by the group is the impact the facility will have on the environment of the basin, which is fed by 13 creeks including Dickerson Creek, Wildcat Creek and Chico Creek.

UTF is proposing to operate two sand and gravel mines, three basalt quarries, a rock crushing facility, a concrete batch plant, a topsoil facility and possibly a railroad spur.

Kitsap County, the city of Bremerton and Port Blakely Tree Farm entered a joint agreement to develop 440 acres for light industry and homes, according to resident Jack Stanfill. Port Blakely pledged $1.5 million to study and analyze access corridors, he said. Parametrix engineers did the study and stated the south access, called 11A, was the best access to connect the property to State Route 3. But when the economy crashed, so did the planned development, he added.

Several CCCCWB members also question the validity of UTF’s engineer reports used in the final Environmental Impact Study. They say on two separate occasions, when questioned why the previously engineered south accesses were not being considered, a UTF spokesman said the 2000 report submitted on the south access road was done in the office and no one ever came to the site. They were told the roads would never work.

“It sure is strange if what UTF claims is true,” Stanfill said. “I wonder how the county, city and Port Blakely would react if in fact Parametrix’s engineering report that touted south access 11A was worthless. Both city and county governments had pledged $2.4 million if the south road was built first, however the county refused to contribute any money if the north access road was built first.”

The group is looking for help from the community. Anyone who wishes to help CCCCWB in its fight against UTF can contact Stanfill at (360) 373-3305 or e-mail at jackstanfill@hotmail.com.

The hearing was continued until 10 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 10 in the county commissioner chambers in Port Orchard.

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