QUILCENE — A 30-acre gravel and sand pit that has not been used in 22 years will be deemed surplus property and sold by Jefferson County if the Board of County Commissioners agrees.
Penny Creek Pit is located at the junction of U.S. Highway 101 and Penny Creek Road.
Jefferson County purchased the property in 1989 as a permitted gravel pit and the county extracted a small amount of material over six years, concluding in 1996.
Central Services Director Mark McCauley said the county no longer has any use for the site.
“The county has used the Penny Creek Pit exclusively to store relatively small amounts of materials for road maintenance, though it remains permitted,” he said.
“It’s located close to the county’s larger Quilcene Pit and Shop complex which easily meets the county’s materials storage needs.”
McCauley said that a draft surplus declaration resolution will be presented to the county commissioners. A public hearing will be held to gather public comments. If the board approves the sale, the county treasurer would conduct a public sale.
Penny Creek Pit would be sold with its mining permitting so it can be of beneficial use to the Quilcene community, he said.
“If Penny Creek were purchased by a citizen or business to be operated as a sand and gravel pit, it could strengthen Quilcene’s economy and potentially provide local jobs,” McCauley said.
“A local source of sand and gravel could also offer the material at a convenient location and a lower transportation cost than more distant sourcing.
“Selling the pit to put it back into active production would also speed the mine’s final reclamation for other uses, such as home sites.”
McCauley said selling the property will relieve the county’s burden of maintaining it and updating its permit and documentation.
It returns it to the tax rolls and reduces the county’s liability exposure from possible accidents or vandalism.
“I’m thinking we’ll be back before the commissioners in 60 to 90 days or so,” he explained. “Until then, we’ll see what input we get from the public.”
Proceeds from the sale could be used to make improvements to the county’s nearby Quilcene Pit, he said.
For more information on the Penny Creek Pit, contact McCauley at 360-385-9130 or [email protected]
Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Jeannie McMacken can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at [email protected]