You are invited to join us for an informal gathering and conversation about the proposed Grip Road Gravel Mine and the upcoming Public Hearing. Do you have questions about the mine proposal, the Public Hearing, or Central Samish Valley Neighbors (CSVN)?
Please join us on Sunday August 21st from 1:00 to 3:30pm at Linda and Bob Walsh’s, 21710 Prairie Road.
CSVN Update: NEW PUBLIC HEARING DATES
Click HERE to download a printable, PDF version of this notice.
The new hearing dates for the Grip Road Gravel Mine Special Use Permit and SEPA Appeal Hearing have been set. The County will send out formal Notice to all interested parties next Tuesday (8/2). (The hearing was postponed at the last minute, from previous 7/11 – 7/12 dates, because the Hearing Examiner was ill.)
Here are the new dates:
Friday Aug 26th, 9:00am, in-person, at County Commissioners’ Hearing Room, 1800 Continental Place, Mount Vernon.
Second day — Monday Aug 29th — Location to be announced.
Public testimony will only be allowed during the first day, and possibly the second day if enough people show up. This part of the hearing is to consider if a Mining Special Use Permit should be approved. After that, our appeal will be heard, and no public testimony will be allowed.
We expect that these first two days will be ‘hybrid’ meetings with the option to testify virtually as well, but this will be confirmed in the County’s Notice.
Please plan on attending and testifying the first day, Friday Aug 26th. It’s okay to just come for half a day or even just an hour, if that is all the time you have. But if you can only attend for a short time, it would be best to come in the morning and to sign-up to testify, or there should be instructions on how to sign- up in advance in the County’s public notice.
It is most effective to testify in-person. We have been waiting over six years for this.
This is your only chance to speak up!
We expect that the first two hours will be opening statements from the Hearing Examiner, County staff and attorneys for the various parties. So, testimony may not start until 10:30 or 11:00. Ideally, community members should attend for the opening statements, but the most important thing is to show up and speak, to let the Hearing Examiner know your concerns about this proposed mine.
The guidance for public testimony and comments that we posted on our website previously are still the same. We also expect that the County’s notice will state that written comments can be submitted up to the day before the hearing starts. So written comments will only be accepted until 4:30 Thursday Aug 28th. Or they can be presented in person at the public hearing along with your oral testimony. Written comments can be submitted through the County’s Planning & Dev. Services website at:
(At the web page above, scroll down to the electronic form near the bottom of the page.)
What happens after that: The following dates are set aside for the hearing to continue as needed. This part will only be virtual (no in-person option): Friday, Sept 2nd; Thursday, Sept 8th; Friday, Sept 9th; Tuesday, Sept 13th. The hearing is very likely to continue at least to the Sept. 2nd date, if not longer. This part of the hearing will be about Central Samish Valley Neighbors’ appeal of the County’s decision to issue a Mitigated Determination of NonSignificance (MDNS) under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA). This is a formal legal proceeding, and the public can observe but not testify.
We will send out more information as the hearing date gets closer. Thank you for your continued interest and support. The legal costs continue to mount as this process gets drawn out. So as before, we very much welcome donations.
Checks can be made out to: CSVN/Linda Walsh, and mailed to Linda Walsh: 21710 Prairie Rd, Sedro Woolley, WA 98284
Or donate with credit card through GoFundMe: https://www.gofundme.com/f/grip-road-gravel-pit-road-safety-environment-csvn
Public documents about this Mining Special Use Permit Application, including application materials and public comments on it, can be found at: https://skagitcounty.net/Departments/PlanningAndPermit/gravelmine.htm
Core community objections: We have lined up expert witnesses to testify at the appeal hearing. Below are links to reports we have submitted to the Hearing Examiner. These reports shed light on the problems with the mine development proposal and the information presented by Miles Sand & Gravel.
- Review of Mine Developer’s Traffic Impact Analysis, Ross Tilghman (click for report)
- Review of Mine Developer’s Geo-Tech Report addressing unstable slopes in Swede Creek Gorge, Dan McShane (click for report)
- Review of Mine Developer’s Critical Areas Evaluations, Matt Mahaffie (click for report)
The Public Hearing for the Mining Special Use Permit is now scheduled for July 11, and it may be continued on to July 12, if necessary. This hearing is very important – the County needs to hear from you! Please plan on attending. This will be the last opportunity to express your concerns about the mine. The hearing will be before the Skagit County Hearing Examiner, and he will decide what kind of limitations to put on the mining activities and gravel trucking, based on information he hears from the County, the applicant (Miles Sand and Gravel) and us, the public!
If you care about the future of our rural community, the safety of our roads and the health of the Samish River environment, then please plan on attending. This is an “open record hearing”, so it doesn’t matter if you haven’t written a letter or commented before, you can and should participate and make sure your concerns are heard.
Did you know that the application for a 68-acre open pit gravel mine in our community is still active and moving forward? This industrial scale mine is proposed by Miles Sand and Gravel/Concrete Nor’West (CNW) just 200 feet from the Samish River, between Grip and Prairie Roads. A long private haul road crosses Swede Creek from the mine site and enters Grip Road near the top of the big hill above Prairie Road. This is a quiet rural area with substandard road infrastructure — no significant mining activity has ever occurred here before.
AS PROPOSED, THIS MINE WILL HAVE MAJOR IMPACTS ON OUR QUALITY OF LIFE, including:
- Huge open pit mine just 200 feet from the Samish River more than 50 acres in size and 90 feet deep.
- An “average” of 46 tandem trucks per day for 25 years hauling gravel through our neighborhoods – with the possibility of up to 30 trucks per hour (1 truck can be rated to haul GVW of 105,000 lbs – more than 50 tons).
- No limitations on hours of mine operation or gravel hauling — potentially 24 hours a day / 7 days a week.
- Loaded tandem dump trucks entering Grip Road at the top of the big hill, and then continuing on to the blind intersection at Prairie Road, at a rate of a truck every 10 minutes or faster during peak operations.
- No improvements to County roads are proposed other than a blinking yellow warning light at the intersection of Grip and Prairie Roads.
SOME OF OUR CONCERNS:
- Traffic safety for private vehicles, school buses, commuters, pedestrians, children and bicyclists on our narrow winding roads – there simply is not room on these roads for this many huge trucks!
- Significantly slower commute times, traffic congestion, and vehicles stacked up behind slow moving trucks along the route, especially at intersections waiting for trucks to enter traffic.
- Noise, dust, vibrations from on-site mining operations and off-site trucking.
- Major degradation of our quality of life and a decline in property values.
- Damage to substandard County roads from the weight of so many trucks – who pays for this?
- Severe impact to wildlife habitat, the Samish River, and ground and surface water quality. The likelihood of on-site processing of gravel in the future & expansion of the mine to make it even bigger — CNW owns 700 contiguous undeveloped acres at the site.
Central Samish Valley Neighbors (CSVN) continues to fight to get the County to follow state law, and its own codes and procedures, so that local people will have a say in the future of this community. We don’t know how soon the County will move on processing the permit, but it could be soon.
We need to be prepared to respond quickly. Once a notice of a Special Use Permit Hearing is issued, we may have as little as 14 days to comment and it will be critical to get a big turn out to the hearing. So, in the next few months we will be holding meetings with community members to try to answer questions and help people get prepared for the next phase of this fight.
YOU CAN HELP
- Attend a community meeting. Notifications will be posted on this website and Facebook page.
- Help us organize a meeting with your Homeowners’ Association, or other neighborhood group.
- Email us to get on our contact list — Spread the word to your friends & neighbors
- Give out copies of this flier.
- DONATE – we are all unpaid volunteers, but legal defense is critical and it comes with a price. Information on how to donate can be found here.
Public records, application documents and public comment letters related to the proposed gravel mine can be found @: https://skagitcounty.net/Departments/PlanningAndPermit/gravelmine.htm