Thurston County has issued a revised environmental ruling requiring additional stormwater drainage and erosion-control measures on a project near Schirm Loop. Consequently, the developer, Paul Muirhead of Muirhead Construction, has withdrawn his application.
The County may describe this as a success. In the end, a developer was allowed to proceed with plans only when appropriate steps were taken to protect habitat, adjoining property, and address the threat of runoff directly into Eld Inlet.
It was, instead, another complete failure, on the part of County staff, and it cost local residents much time and much money.
Why do local residents have to keep paying the salaries of county staff, only to be forced to pay to address the inadequacies of that same staff?
It took a group of concerned neighbors that included a lobbyist, stormwater engineer, septic system engineer and several residents to produce a 56-page appeal to the County’s original findings in favor of the plan.
Then, County staff “accidentally” misled local residents as to the filing deadline for appeal (a deadline contained within county regulations).
When the when the County’s hearing examiner declared the appeal deadline had been missed, it took more work – money and time – on the part of local residents, to get the attention of the County Board of Commissioners.
County staff clearly said the rules favor the developer and they were wrong.
“Without this dream team and some funds to go with the effort, the developer would have his way,” said one local resident.
“We need stronger voices for the average citizen and the environment from our county commissioners,” said another.
We also need a competent staff in the Development Service office.
Read the Olympian’s coverage of these events, in chronological order: