Northwest NEWS

May 15, 2000

Front Page

Judge delays ruling on quarry zoning lawsuit

by Lisa Allen, Valley View editor

   A King County Superior Court judge hearing a lawsuit filed by a Duvall group opposing a rock quarry sent the issue back to the county's Developmental and Environmental Services (DDES) for further study.

   The group, Friends of Cherry Valley (FOCV), had filed the suit against King County, objecting to the mineral zoning of the property. The 80-acre cliffside property lies about two miles north of Duvall. The quarry applicants hope to mine rock on the site over a period of 60 or so years.

   Arguments were heard on May 8. FOCV attorney Jeff Eustice said the group's argument focused on a p-suffix zoning condition for the property.

   "The 1995 p-suffix condition says the applicant's ability to have mineral zoning on the 80 acres was contingent on the applicant commencing environmental studies or operations within two years of passing the zoning, or by Feb. 2, 1997," Eustice said. "We focused on the fact that those conditions had not been satisfied and asked the county to give their interpretation on whether they were satisfied or why they believed they were satisfied."

   Eustice said the applicant retained a consultant, but there was no evidence of doing any actual work during that time. "We claim that what they did was in fits and starts, and work did not begin until after a year had passed in March 1, 1998," he said.

   He added that the applicant came forward in court with information that had never been offered before, such as billing records that say work began much earlier.

   Eustice said the court found that "may or may not be the case" and sent it back to the county for re-evaluation on whether the the two-year period required was met and also to consider other information.

   "We will be scrutinizing that, as well as the county," he said."Their entitlement to proceed has been put in limbo while the county makes a decision. The EIS is required for the project, but the understanding is it has been put on hold while this is being sorted out. It's nice to know that decisions made by employees of the county are being scrutinized."