PORT ANGELES — The owner of Midway Metals said during an appearance before a Clallam County hearing examiner that the business will build a fence at least six feet tall around the property and that she will provide a surety bond to the county and purchase a license from the county.
The scope of Thursday’s hearing was limited to the county code that is specifically related to junk dealers. Hearing Examiner Andrew Reeves could not make rulings in other areas of county code, state or federal law.
Katrina Haymaker, who owns Midway Metals and the property at 258010 U.S. Highway 101, said she could take care of the required county license Thursday and that she would have the bond this week.
She said a fence could go up in the coming months and she would have had a fence up earlier had she been told it only needed to be six feet tall. Haymaker said county officials told her she needed a 10-foot-tall fence.
“Had it been six feet in the very beginning, there could be a fence up,” she said. “You don’t need engineering for a six-foot fence.”
Reeves told Haymaker he doesn’t have the authority to make her put up fence that complies with all laws, just with county code.
“All I can do is say under the Clallam County code, a six-foot fence,” he said. “At least under the Clallam County Code the only thing I have the authority to deal with is a six-foot fence.”
Code Enforcement Officer Diane Harvey told Reeves that currently Midway Metals does not have a fence, gate, license or bond, contrary to county code.
“It does not appear measures are being taken to limit access to the public,” Harvey said. “Aerial and onsite photos shows the Midway Metal property contains solid waste including, rubber tires, auto parts, wrecked vehicles, oil drums, unlabeled 55-gallon metal canisters, propane canisters, refrigerators, mattresses, couches, lawn mower parts, plastic containers, computer hardware, rags, water heaters, metal wires and metal roofing, to name a few.”
The county notified Haymaker of the violations by mail and when she attended a Board of County Commissioners meeting Aug. 5.
The county is asking Haymaker to become compliant with these specific regulations by Sept. 19.
Harvey said the county is asking that Haymaker be fined $750 and that if she does not comply by Sept. 19, fines should accrue with a cap of $7,000.
Reeves has not yet rendered a decision, but suggested that Haymaker would just need to show that she is making progress on building a fence by Sept. 19.
“There are other concerns with this property,” Reeves said. “I know from my review of the file and recall from last time there are other concerns and there are several other agencies involved.
“I’m not addressing those concerns, I’m just dealing with how do we get this property licensed and secured.”
Haymaker said she had “never been notified” that she needed a bond and license until she got a letter in the mail recently. She and the county have discussed alleged violations of various codes for several years.
Haymaker told Reeves that she does have a state business license for Midway Metals.
On Aug. 6 the Peninsula Daily News reported that while Haymaker owns Metal Investment Group in Port Orchard, the Department of Revenue did not show a license associated with Midway Metals or the property.
The next day the Department of Revenue issued Midway Metals as a trade name for Metal Investment Group, which now lists 258010 U.S. Highway 101 as an address. A vehicles transporter endorsement was also issued Aug. 12.
Records show Haymaker is three years behind on property taxes and officials have said that it is at risk of foreclosure next year.
According to the Secretary of State’s Office, Metal Investment Group had missed its April 30 deadline for filing its annual report. An annual report was filed Aug. 6.
In addition to the violations discussed in the hearing, the county, state and federal officials are looking closely at other regulations, particularly those related to contamination.
Testing in 2011 and 2012 showed that the soil has high levels of oil-range hydrocarbons, cadmium, lead, mercury and carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, according to 2012 site investigation report conducted by GeoEngineers for Ecology.
Those tests show groundwater was contaminated with high levels of arsenic, chromium, lead and dissolved arsenic and surface water is contaminated with lead, dissolved lead and polychlorinated biphenyls, the report says.
County officials have presented information about Midway Metals to the state Department of Ecology, state Department of Licensing, state Attorney General’s Office and the federal Environmental Protection Agency.
Harvey told county commissioners earlier this month that the Attorney General’s Office had secured a felony conviction of a man who owned a similar property in King County.
Clallam County commissioners expect to discuss the Midway Metals property again sometime in September.
Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at [email protected].