There are disagreements over the gravel yard next to the school

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Tensions are flaring again at a gravel yard in unincorporated Snohomish County that’s come under scrutiny since opening without permits directly next to an existing elementary school.
The company is denying any wrongdoing, asserting that the yard is being used only for parking trucks, which the county says is acceptable.
“No loading or unloading of trucks has been observed by staff.”Related Snohomish County school seeks relief from gravel yard sited next doorThe saga began early last year after OMA Construction, which owns Mountain Loop Mine near Granite Falls, opened the 2.67-acre yard near Paine Field as a distribution hub for gravel, rocks and sand.
Rather than shut down the yard immediately, officials directed OMA Construction to apply for permits by September and discussed noise and dust mitigation measures the yard could take.
The discord spiked in January, when the dispute made news headlines and an attorney for OMA Construction sent a cease-and-desist letter warning Fairmount’s principal to stop making complaints.
Meanwhile, an attorney for the Mukilteo School District sent a letter to the county Wednesday accusing OMA Construction of defying the stop-work order.
“The county has been more than patient with OMA Construction while school teachers, parents and children have suffered the consequences,” he wrote.
“Continuation of this public nuisance is unacceptable.”Related Snohomish County issues order to stop work at gravel yard next to schoolAdvertisingIn an interview Friday, a school district representative said recent activities at the yard have included loading and unloading on some occasions.
“OMA Construction has lied to us, to the county and to the community that it has stopped operations at the site,” Mooseker wrote in an email.
The county is taking no additional action against OMA Construction at the moment.

A gravel yard in unincorporated Snohomish County that has drawn criticism for opening without permits next to an elementary school is now experiencing tensions once more.

Teachers and students have complained about noise, truck exhaust, and possibly harmful dust at the Everett Aggregate Yard, prompting the county to issue an emergency order last month to halt work there.

However, the owner of the yard filed an appeal against the stop-work order this week, the same day that school officials charged the company with breaking the county’s order and undermining confidence by carrying out some operations at the location. The business is denying any misconduct and claiming that the yard is only being used for truck parking, which is permitted by the county.

The county’s Planning and Development Services department said in a written statement that “regular visits to the site have occurred by a code enforcement officer since the emergency order was issued,” including on Friday. Staff has not seen any trucks being loaded or unloaded. “.

A nearby gravel yard is causing concern for a nearby Snohomish County school.

Early in the year, OMA Construction, the owner of Mountain Loop Mine close to Granite Falls, opened the 2 point67-acre yard close to Paine Field as a gravel, rock, and sand distribution center. This marked the beginning of the sorry tale.

Promoting.

The 1952-founded Fairmount Elementary School and the 2017-founded Pathfinder Kindergarten Center are located next door. Large material piles, marked by a chain-link fence and a driveway separating them from some classrooms and play areas, started to be loaded and unloaded by trucks approximately fifty feet from the Mukilteo School District campus.

The property is zoned “Business Park,” which permits certain industrial uses, but the yard opened without the required permits or environmental review. In May 2023, the yard received a “illegal business” violation notice from the county.

Instead of closing the yard right away, the officials talked about possible noise and dust mitigation strategies for the yard and told OMA Construction to apply for permits by September. After that, the owner had until December 2024 to prepare studies, plans, and applications, so the county extended the yard’s compliance date to February 2024.

As the months went by, teachers reported “loud bangs” from the yard disrupting their lessons, dust forcing them to keep their windows closed, and signs of possible health effects, like coughing, bloody noses, and headaches, which infuriated school officials with the county.

When the disagreement made headlines in January and an attorney for OMA Construction sent a cease-and-desist letter telling Fairmount’s principal to stop filing complaints, tensions reached an all-time high. With a promise to do more, like erect a noise wall, the company has largely refuted the allegations regarding noise and dust, claiming that any negative effects are being lessened.

Promoting.

In the last month, OMA Construction finally submitted applications for permits and site plans, and the county ordered the yard to close temporarily due to noise and zoning violations, giving the impression that things might finally slow down.

However, new accusations have surfaced, and a legal battle is about to heat up. An attorney representing OMA Construction said the company has not broken any laws and was initially given the go-ahead to begin operations at the location when appealing the county’s order on Wednesday. Concurrently, a lawyer representing the Mukilteo School District wrote to the county on Wednesday, alleging that OMA Construction had disregarded the stop-work order.

Robert Smith from KandL Gates wrote, attaching photos, “I was shocked” to learn that OMA Construction was still in operation during a visit to the yard on Monday. “OMA Construction continued to load trucks; these vehicles waited in line, filled with cargo, and then drove off after being weighed. “.

OMA Construction “emphatically told us” that they were no longer running the yard during a meeting between the school district and the company about 45 minutes later, according to Smith. Smith then demanded that the county look into possible criminal charges, impose fines, and reject the company’s application for a permit.

“School teachers, parents, and children have suffered the consequences while the county has been more than patient with OMA Construction,” the letter reads. It is unacceptable that this public annoyance persist. “.

Relevant: Snohomish County orders work at the gravel yard next to the school to stop.

Promotion.

A school district representative stated in a Friday interview that loading and unloading have occasionally occurred at the yard recently. According to Karen Mooseker, the district’s executive director of support services, the activities have not been as disruptive as they were previously, but they are still there.

In an email, Mooseker stated, “OMA Construction has lied to us, to the county, and to the community that it has stopped operations at the site.”.

“Over the course of several days, we have observed and recorded ongoing operations. Our confidence in OMA’s ability to act morally is undermined by this. The county needs to take further action to close them down, and this should put a stop to any thoughts about granting them a permit to operate. “.

Although the local teachers union is not happy about the yard’s continued use, its president, Tory Kartchner, wrote in an email that the union is grateful for the school district “taking a stand.”.

OMA Construction Vice President Brandon Akers stated in an email and an interview on Friday that the company has complied with the county’s emergency order by utilizing the yard exclusively for parking. As per Akers, the company’s dispatcher has sent messages to the workers informing them that normal operations have stopped. The trucks load up with material at the mine, spend the night at the yard, and then depart at different times during the day.

In an email, he stated, “We are not loading any trucks with aggregate to haul out, nor are we bringing in any aggregate or excavation soil or doing any other operations.”. Simply said, the trucks are pulling out of the gate where they spent the night parked. “.

Promoted.

The claims regarding loading and unloading have Akers “dumbfounded,” he said, implying that perhaps school officials are not being truthful. He stated that such claims are “extremely frustrating” the company.

At this time, OMA Construction is not the subject of any further county actions. The county’s hearing examiner will hear the company’s appeal.

In an email on Friday, spokesman Kent Patton stated, “They own the property, and they can park vehicles there.”. Loading or unloading would be against the directive if our code enforcement officers witnessed it. “.

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