Kitsap Lake gravel mine opponents to get day in court

Neighbors of a proposed gravel mine will have their day in court next month as part of an effort to shut down the project they say will pollute water and air and cause headaches from the rumble of big trucks.

“The entire thing should be completely terminated,” Jack Stanfill, a member of Concerned Citizens of Chico Creek Water Basin, said of the Ueland Tree Farm Mineral Resource Development project.

The hearing is scheduled for Kitsap County Superior Court Oct. 18. Kitsap County Hearing Examiner Kim Allen approved the project in March. Formally, county commissioners heard appeals from the examiner, but commissioners denied the group’s appeal in May to bypass the commission and route the challenge to superior court.

The 152-acre project near Kitsap Lake would include sand and gravel mines, basalt quarries, topsoil facility and a concrete batch plant.

A main concern of neighbors like Stanfill is the project’s affect on the surrounding neighborhood.

Stanfill said neighbors believe the county’s final environmental impact analysis ignored a wetland that includes the headwaters of Dickerson Creek. Dickerson Creek is one of the tributaries to Chico Creek.

But Craig Ueland, owner of Ueland Tree Farm, said the analysis was sound.

“There isn’t a single government agency or major environmental group that has opposed the project,” Ueland said. “There will be some neighborhood group that would rather not be affected, that’s not unusual.”

Aside from wildlife and damage to the environment, nearby Kitsap Lake neighbors are concerned about the heavy-truck traffic that the project would bring to their streets, mainly Northlake Way and Leber Lane. Toxic chemicals from the mining are another concern, Stanfill said.

“The project is in the public interest,” Ueland said, adding that it will not harm the wetlands and will create eight to 10 new jobs.

Although the court date is in October, Stanfill said he and other members have reached out to Commissioner Josh Brown and Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent.

“We’re trying to get the word out,” Stanfill said. “Hopefully people will start asking questions.”

Ueland said he would have preferred direct communication with the group.

“They wanted to pursue it through the courts so we’ll have it decided there.”

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