May 3, 1999
DUVALL--Developers of a rock quarry planned for north of town claim that even when the quarry would be at its busiest, nearby residents would see very little of it.
"We know that neighbors are concerned that it will look like Cadman's pit near Monroe," said Joe Jackels, one of multiple investors who have formed a corporation to develop the quarry. "But for the most part, it will be invisible, other than the traffic generated."
Jackels said last week that the corporation understands that residents are worried about the impact the mine will have on them and others in the area.
"Everything is mitigatable," he said. "We are willing to sit down and negotiate on any issue. We would rather use the money that would be otherwise be spent on lawyers to mitigate and fix things up."
He explained that the quarry will be worked from the inside out and behind a 300-foot high berm, which is actually the existing hill, and that only 20 acres of ground will be in use at any one time.
The 92-acre cliffside site overlooking Cherry Valley has been owned by Ed Hayes of Edmonds since 1963. Plans for the quarry, located at the end of NE 189th, are being engineered by Hayes' family company, Seattle General Corporation (SGC), and several other investors. The proposal estimates the mine will be worked for about 60 years, depending on market conditions.
Jackels insisted that residents do not need to worry that dump trucks will be using the roads on the top of the hill.
"No rock will be hauled from the top," he said. "Rock will be removed from the bottom and the number of trucks in use will be equivalent to the number of vehicle trips emanating from a 20 to 40-lot housing development."
Trucks will exit the quarry on SR-203 about a mile north of town. Highway impact fees are required, along with traffic concurrency, he said, but he admitted he has "no idea at this time" what concurrency will entail.
Plans indicate the site will be completely reclaimed as work progresses. "We will be cleaning up and reclaiming behind us," Jackels said. "Reclaiming of the first phase will begin at the beginning of the second phase."
According to the proposal, part of the reclamation includes an addition of 2,200 feet of fish habitat and two acres of wetlands. The bottom lands will become ballfields and parks and the cliffside used for rock climbing. "McCauley Falls will look like a small Snoqualmie Falls," Jackels said.
But residents say they aren't buying any of it.
"We need to fight this as a neighborhood," said Helen Lashway at a meeting last week of Friends of Cherry Valley, formerly Cherry Valley Neighbors, a community group formed in opposition of the mine proposal. "We need to get letters written to the county. People need to request to become a party of record and also that the developers be required to do an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)."
Lashway said the group will have an informational booth available at Duvall Days and that letters about the proposal have been sent to Duvall residents.
Steve Nichols, who lives adjacent to the mine site, said that in studying the proposal, he noted critical issues that need to be addressed by the county.
"There are wetlands, a Class 2 or possibly 3 stream, the steepness of the slope, and the floodplain," he said. Nichols also noted that the floodplain outline in the proposal map was not accurate and that flooding occurs over the county road leading to the Hayes property.
He said he was also concerned about the blasting, which the proposal states will occur once a week. "Blasting will affect those close by," Nichols said. "Repercussions could be felt in the ground which could affect drainage and wells. And, because blasting fragments fly around, they (mine owners) should be required to use blasting nets."
Jim Eldridge, a veteran of the Novelty Neighbors group which has spent over two years opposing the Alberg gravel mine south of Duvall, said that what that group did was to "go through the process and reverse it."
Novelty Neighbors was able to convince the County Council that a zoning change in the 1994 Comp Plan Amendments giving the Alberg site a Mineral Resource designation was incorrect.
Clarise Mahler, an organizer of Friends of Cherry Valley and a next-door neighbor of the proposed mine, said the intent of the organization goes beyond opposing the quarry.
"We want a quiet, non-industrial environment here," she said. "We want to preserve the integrity of Cherry Valley."