The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Commissioners continue with dredging plans, act on marijuana applications

 

March 23, 2017



Wahkiakum County commissioners continued discussions about a dredging program and gave mixed approval to two notices of proposed medical/recreational marijuana retail stores when they met Tuesday.

County commissioners also serve as the board of commissioners for four flood control zone districts, and they discussed with constituents the latest developments in their efforts to establish a 10-year dredging program that would place sand on eroding beaches.

The US Army Corps of Engineers recently required the county to conduct an archeological survey of the sites, said Public Works Director Chuck Beyer.

He has solicited proposals from consultants to conduct the survey, he said.

Commissioner Dan Cothren commented that the project would place sand on areas that have previously had sand deposits. The county will undertake the study, but it's an extra, unanticipated cost that the county will have to cover.

Commissioner Blair Brady said a Seattle area contractor had encountered Native American artifacts on a project that hadn't had an archeological study, and now the Corps has started requiring them.

"From what we hear, the Corps hadn't done an archeological study on their project, and they got bit by it," he said.

Cothren said landowners have started to return right of entry easements needed to allow dredging crews to work along their shorelines, but they're still finding some residents are opposed. Commissioners said they could start contacting people next week to discuss their issues.

North Welcome Slough Road resident Steve Sharp voiced opposition to the dredging project and the county's involvement in it.

He commented that the board's letter to landowners asking for approval of the easements contained very strong language, telling people that if they didn't sign, it would result in the loss of homes and failure of county government.

"I'm fairly certain that if I don't sign the easement that no one will die," he said.

He added that he feels people who buy waterfront property should know of potential problems with erosion.

"It's the individual property owners' problem," he said. "The county should not be involved. Your special interest in waterfront property is not appropriate."

Commissioners weren't dissuaded from the project.

Waterfront property owners pay substantial property taxes, Cothren said later in the meeting.

"But they're also people who live in the county, and we're their voice," he said. "They need a branch of government to stand up for them."

In other business the board gave 2-1 approval to two applications for retail marijuana licences.

The state liquor and cannabis board has final authority over the applications, but it asks local government for comments.

Commissioners Brady and Mike Backman had no objections; Cothren voiced opposition.

The stores would be located east of Cathlamet at 327 SR 4 and 847 E SR 4, the old Nassa Point Motel.

 

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