SOUNDOFF: Dugualla gravel moves are legal

While we agree with Steve Smith’s right to express his opinion regarding community opposition to the gravel pits being proposed by Krieg Construction and Island County, we feel it is important to correct the misstatements of fact in his “Sound Off” that appeared in the May 18 edition of the Whidbey News-Times. Mr. Smith states “… a membership fee has been imposed, after a vote by the few that attended a special membership meeting, to pay for the lawyer and expert witnesses. This membership fee has been imposed by illegally changed by-laws.”

The voting membership of Dugualla Community, Inc., is composed of persons owning one or more of the 261 lots in Dugualla Bay Heights and/or any parcel of land, platted or not platted, in Government Lot 2, Section 17, Township 33 in Island County. The meeting Mr. Smith refers to was attended by a standing-room-only crowd of members in addition to 80 members who voted by proxy. The membership fee in question has been provided for in the by-laws since the community was formed in the early 1960s. The motions made by members to hire a lawyer and experts to represent the community on the gravel pit issue and to use the membership fee to finance the costs were passed overwhelmingly.

Of those who attended the meeting in person, 100 percent voted in favor of these motions, with no abstentions. Only eight members voting by proxy, including Mr. Smith, voted “no” to both questions.

Mr. Smith feels that the documentation submitted by Krieg Construction and Island County in their permit applications indicate that the proposed gravel pits will not adversely affect the Dugualla Community water system or have other deleterious impacts on the community. Mr. Smith also states “ … after reviewing the hydrology study conducted by an independent contractor for Krieg and the county, I agree with their conclusions that there is no danger to the water supply for the area.” This ignores the fact that the community has discovered and officially documented numerous factual errors and errors of omission in the permit applications that shed doubt on their conclusions. Additionally, contrary to Mr. Smith’s statement, the applicants have not performed a comprehensive hydrology study. This issue is of great concern to the community.

The community, as evidenced by the overwhelming majority of members who voted to retain legal counsel and hire appropriate experts, disagrees with Mr. Smith’s opinion. We believe the proposed gravel pits may jeopardize our water system, property values and quality of life, and that there are many questions left unanswered.

We are endeavoring to get answers to these questions and ensure that the community is adequately represented in the application review process by retaining appropriate experts and an attorney.

Robert Edmons is president of the Dugualla Community, Inc., board of directors.

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