Rock quarry proposal withdrawn after safety concerns are raised

Trucks traveling to and from the quarry could be a hazard to elementary students



Shannon Focht, communications coordinator for Pullman School District, said schools will remain closed until April 27.

BENJAMIN WHITE, Evergreen reporter

In late October, an environmental checklist application for a rock quarry near Kamiak Elementary School was withdrawn.

Kevin Gardes, Pullman public works director, said the city has received letters from community members such as neighbors and parents who were concerned about truck traffic on Terre View Drive.

Shannon Focht, communication coordinator for Pullman School District, said members of the school district voiced their concerns for the proposal.

“Our facilities director Joe Thornton did submit a statement to the city on behalf of the school district, related to the impact on our students, specifically students at Kamiak,” Focht said.

Focht said their public comment addressed three different areas. Those areas were air quality, noise concerns and the transportation impact it would have on students.

Trucks hauling gravel to and from the quarry would be driving along the students’ walking path, creating a potential hazard, she said.

“We’re always keeping an eye on growth in Pullman, on potential projects and looking at it through the lens of how it will impact our students, especially related to safety, walking to and from school,” Focht said.

Gardes said environmental checklist applications are state requirements for projects that pose significant environmental concerns.

He said there were six different conditions the city placed on the application in their mitigated determination of nonsignificance.

A mitigated determination of nonsignificance means there are environmental concerns and the applicant needs to propose ways to fix those problems, he said.

One of the requirements was that they have a zone change permit approved by the city, Gardes said. The zone where the rock quarry was proposed did not allow for quarries and would need to be changed.

Another requirement, Gardes said, was that the area they proposed putting the rock quarry may have affected wetlands. They would need to put in a critical area report in that case.

They would have to identify if the project was going to impact wetlands and if so what their mitigation steps would be, he said.

After hearing public comment and receiving the city’s determination of mitigated significance that the applying party withdrew their application, Gardes said. The applicants did not provide any reason for withdrawal, but it was during the appeal period.

After submitting it, the city reviewed the application and put in their determination, he said. The applicant and the public then had 14 days to comment.