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County halts gravel expansion

Plans to expand a gravel mine near the Greenbank Farm are on hold — at least for now.

Rempel Brothers Concrete had to withdraw its application for expansion after county employees found the company hadn’t entirely complied with its original conditional use permit issued in 1975.

Upon review of the proposal for the property, county officials found several issues of concern. The company didn’t have a 100-foot vegetation buffer on the periphery of the excavation tract; lack of appropriate fencing; and the excavation slope violates the conditional use permit.

Brandon Sweezea, planner for Island County, said that due to the scale of the proposed expansion project, and the public interest surrounding the proposal, it was better for the application to be withdrawn until issues surrounding the original conditional use permit are resolved.

David Walden, president and owner of Rempel Brothers, said he thought the work that had been done on the property was enough to bring the operation into compliance.

“We’re working with the county to get this resolved,” Walden said.

He estimated it will take up to six months to complete the work. Once the work is finished, he plans to reapply for the expansion.

Neighbors living near the mine located north of the Greenbank Farm were alarmed when they heard of the proposal to expand the mining operation by 100 acres. Rempel Brothers sought the expansion because its current location is almost mined out.

Concerned residents said the 14-day public period didn’t provide enough time to research and comment on the proposal. That comment period came to an end earlier in the month. On Dec. 7 the county notified people the application had been withdrawn.

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