LUMMI ISLAND - Ordered to cease unpermitted activities at its quarry, Lummi Rock, LLC has been slowly complying, Whatcom County's planning director said.
"It's going a little too slow when there are additional compliance issues," said Sam Ryan, director of Planning and Development Services.
She was referring to a notice of violation issued Feb. 1 for a new infraction, operating during nighttime hours. According to the notice, neighbors at Lummi Island Scenic Estates documented 10 instances in which Lummi Rock moved barges during the night, from Dec. 19, 2012, to Jan. 30, 2013, in violation of a permit.
Further, the hearing examiner said there is evidence the quarry is producing "large clouds of materials, probably rock dust," in Smuggler's Cove and Hale Passage, on the east side of Lummi Island.
"The hearing examiner will consider shutting the quarry down if there is not prompt and immediate action regarding stormwater drainage," the county hearing examiner wrote on Nov. 20, 2012.
All of this will come before the hearing examiner at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13, when Lummi Rock and the county are scheduled to provide updates on recent stop-work orders and the county's progress on permit applications. The hearing is in the council chambers of the Whatcom County Courthouse, 311 Grand Ave. in Bellingham.
Stop-work orders issued in June 2012 require Lummi Rock to stop using an internal access road built outside the boundaries of the mining area; to stop mooring barges in unpermitted areas, including near ecologically sensitive eelgrass beds; and to stop using an unpermitted conveyer and pier.
Since the orders were issued, Lummi Rock has corrected only one of the three violations, by halting use of the pier and conveyer, Ryan said.
Hearing Examiner Michael Bobbink also told the county to process three stalled permit applications. One could allow the illegal road. The second would increase the area where mining is allowed from 20 acres to 47 acres. The third could resolve the mooring and eelgrass issues.
Lummi Rock attorney Lesa Starkenburg-Kroontje could not be reached for comment. In her appeal on the quarry's behalf, dated Oct. 15, 2012, she suggested the county was responding to pressure from antagonistic neighbors in Lummi Island Scenic Estates.
"Lummi Rock understands that Whatcom County is under tremendous pressure from residential users on Lummi Island to take steps to close down the quarry," Starkenburg-Kroontje wrote. "Yet, the Lummi quarry has been set aside by Whatcom County under the Growth Management Act to provide hard rock material for years to come."