A proposed expansion of Quartermaster Marina passes environmental muster

The owner of the Quartermaster Marina in Burton has gotten an environmental green light for his expansion plan.  - Amelia Heagerty
The owner of the Quartermaster Marina in Burton has gotten an environmental green light for his expansion plan.
— image credit: Amelia Heagerty

A proposed expansion of the Quartermaster Marina won preliminary approval from King County, which determined last week that the project complies with the state's environmental requirements for shoreline development.

According to the county, the project meets criteria outlined in the State Environmental Protect Act or SEPA, as long as the marina's owner provides additional parking off site and a 24-hour shuttle service between the parking area and the marina.

Residents have until April 26 to appeal the county's determination. If no one appeals, the county will likely issue a permit for the project a few weeks later, said Paula Adams, spokeswoman for the county's Department of Development and Environmental Services.

But Steven Choe, a Tacoma resident who owns the marina, said the county's decision comes after a long process — and he's not sure if he'll now move forward with the project.

He proposed the project several years ago, he said, when his marina was full and he had a waiting list for some of his 65 slips, he said. Now, however, he has five empty slips, and financing is hard to come by, he said.

"I think I'm going to hold off," he said of his project. "I don't have the resources."

Choe, who bought the marina and the adjacent commercial building on the Burton waterfront eight years ago, proposed adding about 20 slips, replacing the creosote-treated pilings with galvanized steel ones and extending the piers so as to allow more light to infiltrate — which is considered important for the environment. He said he thought his proposal would win easy approval, since the project was good for the environment.

According to his architect, Keith Putnam, he first filed for a permit in June 2004. "I don't know why King County took so long," Choe said.

But county officials said their records show he first applied for a shoreline development permit in June of 2008 and had a pre-application meeting in 2007.

"It's absolutely not true that it took us years and years to issue a permit," Adams said.

As for allowing more light to infiltrate, that part of the project was a requirement issued by DDES in 2002, when Choe applied for a building permit to repair the existing dock.

"You have to have 50 percent light infiltration," Adams said. "He never complied with that."

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