Jefferson County agrees to $500,000 settlement with Iron Mountain Quarry

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — Jefferson County officials have agreed to a $500,000 settlement with Iron Mountain Quarry, resolving a damage claim by the quarry against the county for lost revenue.

David Alvarez, Jefferson County chief civil deputy, said the settlement resolves two damages claims that would have otherwise required a lengthy trial, with many experts on both sides who would have testified as to Iron Mountain Quarry’s allegations of lost profits.

The county had a counterclaim against the business for staff time and expenses incurred.

“The uncertainty surrounding both of these claims has been removed by the resolution of this tort case for a lump sum payment,” Alvarez said in a statement.

“The definition of a settlement is that it satisfies no one, but this allows us to move on.”

The settlement will be paid by the Washington State Risk Pool, less a $10,000 deductible.

The settlement was reached in Kitsap County Superior Court on Friday and is expected to be finalized next week, according to the Jefferson County Superior Court Clerk’s Office.

Iron Mountain LLC of Bothell seeks to develop a 142-acre gravel quarry on Pope Resources land near Port Ludlow and has been involved in a permit process dating back to 2007.

It initially sought $3.5 million in damages from the county for loss of revenue, brought about by the county’s requirement of an Environmental Impact Statement for the site.

The statement will no longer be required for the site, according to Stacie Hoskins, Department of Community Development planning director.

This was the result of a 2010 ruling by Kitsap County Superior Court Judge Anna Laurie that called the EIS requirement “arbitrary and capricious.”

Neither company President Jim Burnett nor the firm’s attorney, Dale Johnson, returned calls for comment Wednesday, either about the case or a schedule for the operation of the mine.

The county issued a stormwater permit Sept. 28, 2012, along with permits that have allowed Iron Mountain Quarry to begin preparing the site for the mine, but building permits have not been applied for or granted, Hoskins said.

While the mine is not yet in operation, the proposal has attracted the ire of Port Ludlow residents, who feel the preparation has already had a negative impact on the community.

“They never should have allowed this to be put in to begin with,” said Port Ludlow resident Bert Loomis.

“This is part of a pattern that has occurred where the county consistently does not represent the needs of the people in Port Ludlow. We were never given timely, advance warnings about the decisions they made that affect us.”

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Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or cbermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: May 21. 2014 7:37PM
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