City objects to logging project process
The city of Blaine has halted a logging project � dubbed Route 66 � encompassing 400 acres within city limits, near Birch Point.
�The Semiahmoo Corporation (Trillium) has filed an application for a Class 3 forest practice permit for an approximately 400 acre site within city limits,� community development director Terry Galvin said. �We have notified them we would file a stop work order should they begin.�
The city, Galvin said, is concerned with the process of development in this area and the overall planning of the site. �We want to see a planning process involving the developer, community representation and the public as a whole,� he said. �When we red tag them, we need to make a statement for the community that we are concerned about the physical environment.
Semiahmoo Corporation recently received a Class 3 forest practice permit to log the area. Although the company is the owner of the 400 acres of land involved in this Route 66 project, the actual owner of the timber is the ALRT Corporation, based in Everson. It is apparently the owner of the timber � not the owner of the land � that wishes to move forward with the logging, according to Galvin.
But whoever wishes to move forward with the logging is unimportant, it�s the process that the city is concerned with. A Class 3 permit states that the land would a rotating crop and subject to a 10-year moratorium on development.
�The city took a very strong stand that indeed it is not logical or rational to feel this fell into a Class 3 permit,� Galvin said. �It�s not reasonable or logical to believe it�s (the land) going to be that way for 60 to 80 years. Therefore it should be viewed as a conversion.�
City attorney Jon Sitkin agreed with that statement, and said the area is likely to be developed. �This is clearly an area likely to be converted in a shorter timeframe than regrowth,� he said.
City manager Gary Tomsic said the city is not concerned with the actual cutting of trees, rather the development. �We�re not saying they can�t cut the trees, it�s just the practice they use ought to be consistent with city plans.�
The current Class 3 permit overides city of Blaine regulations; however, if the permit was a class 4, the city could then have more legal influence. City staff and Semiahmoo Corp. officials, including legal counsel, have met two times to discuss the issue.
�It appears they will explore the option of reapplying for a class four permit,� Galvin said. �It looks as though we are on our way to an agreement.�
Should Semiahmoo Corp. receive a Class 4 permit, it would have to submit a development plan in compliance with city of Blaine regulations, undergo a SEPA review and clearing permit.
The company could not be reached as of press time.