Letters to the Editor

Plans for new camp raise several issues | Letter to the Editor

I’m writing to express concerns about the recent King County action on an environmental review and conditional use permit for a camp planned at the former Morningside Morgan Farm property.

First, the project includes a proposal for remediation of arsenic-contaminated soils on the site by removing the toxic soils from around the site and storing them in a big pile (“containment cell”) just uphill from my water system’s well. Secondly, the proposal claims an “exempt well” water right for over two million gallons of annual water withdrawal that local water officials have indicated should raise serious concerns for other water right holders.

The county has issued a “Mitigated Determination of Non-Significance” (meaning the project does not require an Environmental Impact Statement) and an approval for the requested conditional use (a use not normally allowed on that property or in that zone without conditions to reduce the impacts).

My question is: Where is the “mitigation” in King County’s Mitigated Determination of Non-significance (MDNS)? Where are the “conditions” in the conditional use permit? It seems to me the county has neither mitigated nor conditioned at all. Its so-called mitigation/conditions are mere restatements of existing ordinances and requirements — like saying “do the right thing” and “follow existing laws.” A project of this scope, risk and serious possible impacts ought to have some equally serious mitigation and conditioning to deal with project risks. I intend to comment on the MDNS and encourage you to do the same. I intend to appeal the approval, and I encourage you to do the same. (Check out the website www.stopmorningsidefarm.com for more background.)

Having a toxic landfill of concentrated, arsenic-laden soils posing a danger to our fragile Island aquifer is not an approach that calls for business as usual.

 

— Philip McCready

 

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