Dave McDermid and Bill Dean of Port Ludlow were two of more than a dozen residents who attended Monday’s county commissioners’ meeting. (Cydney McFarland/Peninsula Daily News)

Dave McDermid and Bill Dean of Port Ludlow were two of more than a dozen residents who attended Monday’s county commissioners’ meeting. (Cydney McFarland/Peninsula Daily News)

Port Ludlow residents air logging mediation concerns with Jefferson commissioners

PORT TOWNSEND — More than a dozen Port Ludlow residents at the Jefferson County commissioners’ meeting Monday shared concerns on a perceived lack of progress in mediation between the county and Port Ludlow Associates over timber harvests around the Port Ludlow Master Planned Resort.

Four residents voiced their concerns during the public comment portion of the meeting. Port Ludlow resident Jim Posey had the group stand during his comments to show the commissioners how many people came out.

According to Bill Dean, residents of Port Ludlow have been trying to keep the issue on the commissioners’ radar by attending meetings in Port Townsend and picketing a new Port Ludlow Associates (PLA) housing development on the weekends.

“There’s been kind of a range on the number of people showing up,” Dean said of the protests. “We just want to keep the concerns of the community in front of the commissioners.”

Jefferson County and PLA have been in mediation since September 2015.

The mediation started as a result of a stop-work order from the county, which was given to PLA in April 2015, after Port Ludlow residents reported the PLA clearcutting large sections of forest within the boundary of the master planned resort.

The mediation between the county and PLA is closed to the public and, as a result, residents are concerned over the progress being made and what kinds of agreements might be reached with little public input.

“Because it’s a closed meeting, we don’t know what kind of progress is being made and we’re fearful that the PLA will just wait us out,” Posey said.

“The county doesn’t want to go to court and PLA knows that. We just don’t know what kind of mediation is going on and what kind of progress is going on and we just want to know.”

Commissioners on Monday did not offer new information on the mediation, which is a confidential process.

Residents called for a possible deadline to ensure the issue wouldn’t be stuck in an endless mediation. However, during the commissioners’ response, County Administrator Phillip Morley said that wouldn’t be a good idea.

“I don’t think a deadline would be in the best interest,” Morley said.

Commissioner Kathleen Kler acknowledged the frustrations of everyone involved with the situation.

“It’s not the only issue in the county but it continues to be a major drain on time and resources,” Kler said.

“There’s frustration everywhere and it’s understandable.”

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Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Cydney McFarland can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 55052, or at cmcfarland@peninsuladailynews.com.

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