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Update due on mountain-area resort project

4:41 pm January 10th, 2014

By Pat Jenkins
The Dispatch
The future of the Mount Rainier Resort at Park Junction may become clearer after a public hearing next week to check on the project’s progress.
The session before a Pierce County hearing examiner is scheduled for Jan. 15 at 10 a.m. at the county’s Public Services Building at 2401 S. 35th St. in Tacoma.
Attention in recent years has focused on whether the project, whose plans were approved by the county 13 years ago, is making headway or instead is sufficiently dormant that its permits should be revoked. The hearing next Wednesday won’t include testimony on whether the project ever should have been authorized or whether it should face revocation. The focus will only be on its progress, county officials said.
Proposed for a 420-acre site off State Route 706, halfway between Elbe and Ashford and 11 miles from Mount Rainier National Park, are a 270-room guest lodge, an 18-hole golf course, 300 condominiums, a conference center capable of hosting 500 people, 20,000 square feet of space for retail stores, and restaurants, tennis courts and a swimming pool. It also would have a train station, its own sewage plant and housing for 120 employees.
The project developer is BCB Group, which is based in Oregon. Park Junction LLC is the owner of land the resort would occupy.
The project was first proposed in 1994 and passed environmental impact requirements with the county in 1999. Appeals by project opponents led to a series of court rulings, ending in 2005 when the state Court of Appeals reversed a lower-court ruling and restored the project’s approval. Since then, there has been no construction and the project has struggled to obtain financing because of economic conditions, according to BCB Group.
Despite the decade-plus that has passed, the county’s approval of the project plans is still valid, officials said.
At a public meeting in Ashford June 13, 2012, a county hearing examiner received an update on the project’s status, including any efforts by the developers to move it forward.
Developers have said they hope to be given enough time for the resort to be built. They’ve estimated that construction would take about 18 months to complete once it starts.
During the proposed resort’s approval process more than 13 years ago, critics opposed the project with claims that it would negatively impact police and fire protection services and traffic on SR-706, a heavily traveled route to Mount Rainier. Questions also were raised about environmental impacts from the demand for water and sewer service.
In preparation for next week’s hearing, Ty Booth, a senior planner for the county’s Department of Planning and Land Services, is accepting written comments from citizens that will be given to the hearing examiner. They can be e-mailed to him at tbooth@co.pierce.wa.us or mailed to his attention at Pierce County Planning and Land Services, 2401 S. 35th St., Tacoma, WA 98409-7490. He’ll answer questions via e-mail or at 253-798-3727.
It isn’t necessary to attend the hearing in order to submit written comments, officials said.

6 Responses to Update due on mountain-area resort project

  1. Eric Watson Reply

    January 11, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    I say go with the project as it would create more visitors to the camping areas on both north and south sides of Alder Lake in the future. With the south park having more population within to prevent damaged caused by stupid people. I do not agree with the golf project as golf is rather dull and not many people thrive to play the game. A better idea would be a plaza for games for teens, go karts for kids and adults, (safe as they are monitored by remote control throttle governors etc.), a play land for kids as well. The attraction would possibly allow Alder Lake to grow as well with more boaters and other expenses that would create more income for the area. Water and sewer is not an issue as the land can absorb as much as the Nisqually Casino as I have noticed their raised septic design which has a few 10 foot pipes raised from to dissipate the septic gasses. Though it does not look nice….the plan was approved so it should be as good. As for the rest of the project it sounds great. I do ask that all who reads this send in your comments for the project or against it. THe more the merry.

    Thanks to you all for being a great part of the growing America….and while we are doing this….lets stop the greedy government from growing as they can not seem to understand placing 20 homes on an acre of land to create taxes is also polluting the land as well. I found the Land management people have set it out to divide all large land masses into small land masses under 19 acres, so no one can claim their land be “open land” and having lesser taxes on their lots. I have 7 acres with noting on it and am being charged 1200 a year as if there was a house on it….and only trees and stickers are there. Lets stop those greedy people from going further!!

  2. Eric Watson Reply

    January 11, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    Correction….10 acres.

  3. Chad Williams Reply

    January 13, 2014 at 11:34 am

    Pierce County offers a resource protection program that compensates property owners. Owners are taxed on the current use of the land and not on the highest and best use of the property. The program is called Current Use Open Space and there are three categories: Open Space, Timberland & Farm & Agriculture.

    Contact me and we can run an estimate of the resources present on your site.

    253-798-3683

  4. Lynne Reply

    January 13, 2014 at 11:43 am

    I say NO on the project. I moved here because I like the quiet and no traffic. A golf coarse would not be good. All the chemicals they use on the greens is not good for the enviro/animals. Turning it into some sort of kids amusement park is not appealing to me either. A lodge with a cafe MAYBE, but that is about it. The idea of condos going up makes me ill.

  5. Deanna Reply

    January 20, 2014 at 11:40 am

    Here’s a thought. Say I were to hit a HUGE MEGA or POWERBALL lottery and I bought a piece of property and I wanted to build a beautiful area for people to enjoy…I couldn’t? The people behind this “resort” are the hardest workers in the area and are really GREAT PEOPLE too! Alot of blood, sweat and tears have happened since this project began! I’ve seen the plans and they are beautiful for all they want to do!Not only will it create jobs at the resort, but also the existing businesses along the way to Mt. Rainier will grow and even new little businesses will start. It WON”T be a “Walmart” or a “Rite Aid” or even a “Starbucks,” but good old fashioned businesses that could make a difference in a person and their families lives.

  6. Deanna Reply

    January 20, 2014 at 11:58 am

    (ran out or room)And it WON”T be another garbage dump like people were forced to have outside of eatonville! Change will happen and this is a GREAT thing for the area! So what if you don’t golf, drive on by, but if you do stop by, I’m sure you would be treated with great respect AND you might even have alot of fun! Heck I bet they would even let you apply for one of the many jobs that it creates! It’s just time to let this happen…and to think that maybe playing a game of golf, to have a elk or two delay a game…now that doesn’t just happen everywhere :)Thanks Gayle, Cora, Rick and family for your dream!! Let them build their “Field of Dreams!” GOOD PEOPLE WILL COME!!!

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