Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tacoma Port Legal Battle Over Maytown Site Cost $1.5M

The legal battle over a gravel mining permit in Thurston County has cost the Port of Tacoma just under $1.5 million in legal expenses.

The legal battle centers on a 745-acre Maytown site – once envisioned by the port as the site for a proposed intermodal rail and logistics facility – that the port sold to Maytown Sand & Gravel last year for $19 million.

The port purchased the property in 2006 for more than $21 million and sank another $6.5 million in the site for consulting and pre-construction work related to the development of the rail facility. The port continued to work on the proposed rail facility until 2008, when vehement community opposition to the construction and operation of the rail facility coalesced, leading to the port's decision to abandon the rail facility project and sell the property.

One of the groups opposing the Maytown development, the Friends of Rocky Prairie, sued the port.

According to port documents, the lengthy legal battle has cost the port $1.48 million. The Friends of Rocky Prairie decided last week to abandon further legal appeals in the case.

The suit centered on the permit for the site allowing Maytown Sand & Gravel to mine gravel at the Maytown property.

The port had a vested interest in defending the gravel firm's right to mine the site. The terms of the sale to Maytown Sand & Gravel called for the firm to pay the port $8.5 million of the $19 million purchase price to the port in gravel.

The Friends of Rocky Prairie, while abandoning their legal battle, have said they will monitor the gravel firm's operations closely and that it complies with all permits.