Company seeking ‘pit-pier’ project sues state, Navy over new Hood Canal conservation easement

By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND –– Hood Canal Sand and Gravel, the company seeking the long-planned “pit to pier” gravel operation, has filed suit in Jefferson County Superior Court in an effort to block a state and federal plan to block development along the Hood Canal coastline.

Earlier this month, the state Department of Natural Resources and the Navy announced a 55-year conservation easement would block development of more than 4,800 acres of state-owned tidelands along Hood Canal.

Thorndyke Resources Operation Complex, affiliated with Hood Canal Sand and Gravel, wants to build a 998-foot pier on state-owned land five miles south of the Hood Canal Bridge to annually load onto barges some 6.75 million tons of gravel that would be transported from a quarry at Shine.

The suit asks for nullification of the easement, an order that the company has preserved rights to develop the property and an injunction preventing the state and Navy from enforcing the easement.

The agreement between the Navy and the state forbids industrial or commercial development on the property and gives the Navy unrestricted access to the waters for training exercises.

The Navy paid the Department of Natural Resources $720,000 for the easement.

The permit process for the “pit-to-pier” project was begun in 2003 by Fred Hill Materials. After Fred Hill’s 2012 bankruptcy, Thorndyke, a Poulsbo company, took over the project.

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Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at jsmillie@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: August 06. 2014 12:42PM
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