WENATCHEE — Chelan County officials have ordered the owner of a gravel pit north of Wenatchee to halt mining activities after he failed to comply with the conditions of his permit.
Lance Chipman of Cashmere did not have appropriate warning signs posted around his 55-acre property along Highway 97A, an April 12 letter signed by Chelan County Code Enforcement Officer Ryan Walker states.
Chipman, who co-owns Wenatchee Rock Products with Pamp Maiers of Moses Lake, also failed to install a sufficient wall or fence with locking gates at least 50 feet from excavated areas, and did not plant vegetation to mitigate nuisance effects, the letter continues.
The letter orders Chipman to stop mining as long as the violations persist. A hearing examiner is set to review his compliance with the permit conditions on May 2.
Chipman’s attorney, John Beuhler, said in a phone interview Tuesday that officials brought the violations to Chipman’s attention late during the week of April 4, before sending out the letter.
At that time, Wenatchee Rock Products “voluntarily shut the pit down so they could meet those requirements,” Beuhler said.
“Lance has not disputed those (allegations). He’s complying with those,” Beuhler continued.
He said that when the violations came to light, “We were already working on the fence. And there was an issue on the signs, but our signs have mysteriously disappeared on a regular basis.”
“I don’t think they’re blowing away, someone is taking them,” Beuhler added.
Steve Hanson, who lives in a subdivision near the gravel pit, sent Walker a letter on March 22, alleging several permit infractions, including those cited by Walker after he inspected the property last Monday.
“I’m a pretty black-and-white person, and when the conditions of approval say specific things, I feel that they should be followed,” Hanson said by phone Tuesday.
He said he did not know anything about signs being taken, and that he thinks Chipman has had plenty of time to erect a fence and put in vegetation since he started mining more than a month ago.
County officials may inspect Chipman’s property again before May 2, Beuhler said.
If they find it to be in compliance, the stop-work order could be lifted and mining could begin immediately.
Chipman’s attorney also said his client wants to participate in the hearing to get a schedule for planting grass and trees.
Hanson, along with his wife, Jeanne Hanson, is appealing the county’s decision last October to issue Chipman a three-year mining permit.
Chipman also is suing the county to protest its denial of his request for a rezone that would have allowed him to mine long-term.