Richard Smith of Precision Paving in Clark County is seeking a rezoning of agricultural land to mineral for a potential rock pit on the Cowlitz River. A move that nearby residents and the Cowlitz Tribe are against.
The rezoning application is for 0 St Hwy 506, Toledo, on tax parcel number 012523002000 & 012509002002 located within Section 27, Township 11 North, Range 02 West, W.M., Lewis County, Washington. The total amount of land they would like to rezone is approximately 66 acres.
The area they are proposing has been flooded on several occasions over the past decades despite dams that have been put in place. Lewis County has prime agricultural land in this area, rezoning this area will remove agricultural land.
The other issue is the gravel pits that are currently in Lewis County. The Lewis County News talked to a few owners and they are not busy 24/7, there is enough rock for at least 40 years. Precision Paving will not keep the rock local, they will be trucking it down to Vancouver and Portland because those areas are in need of rock.
Cowlitz Tribe stated in their letter dated February 12, 2020 regarding the cultural resources, "....critically important to the Cowlitz Indian Tribe, the site has not been characterized for cultural or archeological resources, still, which extractive and long-term intensity of a mineral extraction process would be highly disruptive and further loss of our cultural resources is unacceptable.
The Cowlitz Tribe continued, "We request the planning commission's complete review of these topics. It is critically important to the future of Lewis County and the Cowlitz Indian Tribe that resources are wisely used. This particular site is proposed for one purpose - which will benefit the applicant. Lewis County has abundant local mineral resources with under-utilized resources within the same 5 mile radius of the proposed project area. Please consider the zone change would be undesirable to many local residents and potentially result in major damage through river course changes and environmental and cultural resource impacts."
A workshop and public hearing is scheduled with the Lewis County Planning Commission for the Type V application. The Planning Commission will take action at the public hearing to forward recommendations on the above application to the Lewis County Board of County Commissioners for the final decision (per Lewis County Code (LCC) 17.05). Once the hearing date with the Lewis County Planning Commission is set, the notice of hearing will be sent. The first Planning Commission workshop is tentatively scheduled for February 25, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. located at the Lewis County Courthouse, Commissioners Hearing Room, Second Floor, 351 N.W. North Street, Chehalis.
If you want to keep the resources in Lewis County, please consider attending the planning commission meeting on the 25th of February. Your voice needs to be heard!