Neighbors worry sand mine would bring dangerous truck traffic

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by Shawn Chitnis & KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on September 10, 2012 at 7:25 PM

GREEN BLUFF, Wash. -- Neighbors want to draw attention to a project they say is commercial mining that will disrupt the area before the public comment period closes Tuesday but the owner says he’s just removing unwanted sand.

"There's a lot of kids that are always on this road,” says Shari Abrams, a neighbor close to the proposed site. “Having those large trucks coming in and out, that is just scary."
 
A plan to remove large amounts of sand caught some people off guard in this part of Spokane County, a place they chose to live in because of its quiet, calm setting. Neighbors say it will harm the environment and put students too close to construction work.
 
KREM 2 News reached out to the owner, Fred Brown, several times since last week for an on-camera interview. His staff tells us he has been out of the office and remains away. Brown responded to questions sent by email late Monday afternoon.
 
“My project is not a commercial use,” Brown said in his email. “I am trying to improve my land, not devalue it. I want to use my land for pasture and keeping horses.”
 
Brown goes on to say it is a grading project on 20 acres of his property. He explains the sand removal is necessary for his plans.
 
“Unfortunately, it has a lot of sand on it so I am partnering with someone with expertise to remove the sand,” the email added. 
 
Located south of E. Greenbluff Rd. and north of Day Mount Spokane Rd, it is a couple miles east of Colbert Elementary School and Mountainside Middle School.
 
An increase in trucks driving by a bus stop puts student safety at risk, some neighbors say. But Brown argues there is already a lot of traffic on that road. 
 
Opponents to the project are also concerned about the land they say is designated for rural conservation.
 
"This is the wildlife corridor,” neighbor Dan Burton added. “It has animals, we've had moose, we've had deer, we've had rabbits, and nobody's talking for them."
 
Brown says part of the process to get a permit for the project requires evaluations on environmental impact.
 
“If impacts are identified, I will be required to mitigate those,” Brown explained in his email. “That is part of the permit process and why experts are consulted.”
 
The public comment period ends on Tuesday, Sept. 11. Anyone with input on this issue should contact the county.
 
Tammy Jones, Senior Planner
Spokane County Building & Planning Department
1026 W. Broadway Ave.
Spokane, WA 99260
(509) 477-7225 [phone]
(509) 477-4703 [fax]
 
Brown argues he has a vested interest in the project’s affect on the neighborhood because he lives on the same property. Neighbors concede he is free to make these plans but they believe that with those land rights comes responsibility.
 
"He should strive to maintain this land as it was intended to be maintained,” says Cristy Pemberton, another neighbor. “And not use it for his own personal gain."

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