Jefferson County Department of Community Development Reprimands Fort Discovery

The ongoing controversy over the building of “Fort Discovery” continues. I’m sure this won’t be the last posting on this politically charged project.

In a letter dated May 10, 2019 sent to Mr. Joe D’Amico, President of Fort Discovery Corporation, Jefferson County DCD director Patty Charnas documented 14 years of the company’s failure to comply with Jefferson County building codes and land use ordinances.

In late 2018 the Tarboo Ridge Coalition, a county-wide citizen’s group opposing Mr. D’Amico’s plans to build a paramilitary training complex at Tarboo Lake, filed a complaint with multiple agencies asserting that Mr. D’Amico had started construction without applying for permits or submitting required reports and documentation.

A March 22 site inspection by Jefferson County and the Washington State Department of Ecology confirmed that site clearing, wetland destruction, foundation construction, erection of three buildings that fail to meet the county building code, and numerous other violations, have occurred.

TRC board member Riley Parker obtained a copy of the County’s letter through a public records request. “We appreciate the County conducting a thorough inspection and noting the numerous violations we knew were there,” said Parker. “History is repeating itself.”

“The eight-page Charnas letter lays out, in detail, the tasks necessary for Mr. D’Amico to get authorization to build his encampment” said Peter Newland, President of the TRC Board. “The County continues to seek Fort Discovery’s voluntary compliance and has requested that Fort Discovery respond within 15 days. We’ll see what happens.”

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Contact:

Peter Newland

425-754-0700

pnewland@whidbey.net

www.tarbooridgecoalition.org

Tarboo Ridge Coalition issues letter of concern to county commissioners

The Tarboo Ridge Coalition sums up the last year of debate over the proposed Tarboo Lake gun range proposal. Printed here for your information. The letter speaks for itself.


What’s Fair -What’s Not?

46 weeks have passed since Jefferson County agreed to mediation with Fort Discovery Inc., about a moratorium on new gun ranges and owner Joe D’Amico’s complaints about Jefferson County land use rules. Tarboo Ridge Coalition, which opposes Mr. D’Amico’s plans to build seven gun ranges at Tarboo Lake, asked to observe the mediation. State law allows citizen participation, but the County and Mr. D’Amico’s attorney denied our request.

A day after agreeing to “mediation”, Fort Discovery’s attorney and the County began regular weekly meetings. These meetings extended throughout the 16 weeks during which a committee helped the County create a new ordinance expanding the size, scope and intensity of allowed gun range activities. Mr. D’Amico was a member of this committee.

If the County Commissioners approve this new ordinance, gun ranges could be permitted to train corporate security organizations, military units, paramilitary groups and soldiers of fortune. The owner of the Fort Discovery Corporation said of the ordinance, “I think it’s fair.”

After nearly a year of meetings and communication between the County and Fort Discovery, they have not met with or appeared before a mediator. By definition no mediation has occurred. Nonetheless, whatever took place in those many meetings remains a secret because the County has redacted (blacked out) page after page of communications TRC obtained through public records requests.

What went on in those meetings should not be hidden from the public. What influence those secret meetings had on the content of this “fair” ordinance is unknown. TRC believes the County Commissioners should not finalize the new shooting range ordinance without fully allowing the public to know what went on behind closed doors. Openness, transparency, and trust in government demand no less.

Peter Newland, Board President

Tarboo Ridge Coalition

Tarboo Ridge Coalition charges D’Amico violated moratorium

The Tarboo Ridge Coalition, the group fighting the proposed shooting range in the south central part of Jefferson County, has charged that Joe D’Amico has violated the county’s moratorium on any construction on his property. D’Amico has a long history of irritating his neighbors by creating noise from gun shooting at his now closed facility along the shores of Discovery Bay.  It is unclear what the county commissioners and staff of Jefferson County will do to Mr. D’Amico, or whether this may ultimately compromise his ability to get a permit for construction. Flagrant violating of laws is usually seen as challenge that does not help those that do the violations. Here is the letter in full from the Tarboo Ridge Coalition to help you make up your own mind.

October 12, 2018

Joe D’Amico Ignores Jefferson County Moratorium Ordinance

A moratorium ordinance, unanimously passed on December 18, 2017 by the Jefferson County BOCC, prohibits the “the submission, acceptance, processing or approval of any Jefferson County permit applications for any proposed use, development, or project for siting, construction or modification of any commercial shooting facility…. during the moratorium”. The moratorium expires December 17, 2018.

Joe D’Amico wants to build a multi-range shooting compound at Tarboo Lake. He has chosen to ignore the County ordinance and submitted a permit application on October 3, 2018–fully 75 days in advance of the moratorium’s scheduled expiration.

The Tarboo Ridge Coalition, a citizen group that supports sensible planning and environmentally compatible development, opposes D’Amico’s proposed weapons compound on the shores of Tarboo Lake. They have formally objected to the County accepting D’Amico’s application. It remains to be seen whether the BOCC will enforce their moratorium ordinance and hand Mr. D’Amico’s paperwork back to him.

Diane Johnson, a TRC board member noted, “ TRC presented over 1200 petition signatures in support of the moratorium. Last week the Commissioners were all complaining that they seem to be losing the public’s trust. If they do the logical thing and enforce their own ordinance they might get some trust back. Otherwise public participation seems to mean nothing.”

The next BOCC meeting is Monday October 14 with public comment beginning at 9:00 AM. TRC encourages everyone to make their voices heard.

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Contact: Peter Newland

425-754-0700

www.tarbooridgecoalition.org

 

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