Transfer Station Update

Three appeals have now been filed against a Building Permit issued by Clallam County for a 11,250-square-foot facility, where “Olympic Disposal” plans to build a solid waste transfer station. Scroll down to learn more.

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Update on the Solid Waste Transfer Station in Carlsborg

(Last Updated: November 11, 2022)

Links to an updated map and documents follow.

1. County Issues Building Permit

On October 18, 2022, Clallam County issued a building permit for construction of an 11,250-square-foot building on a property immediately adjacent and to the north of the Olympic Discovery Trail segment in Carlsborg, Washington.  The applicant also controlled the lot immediately to the south of the trail and within days abandoned its effort there for approval of a solid waste transfer station.

2. Applicant Intents to Build a Transfer Station

The applicant is on record, prior to issuance of the building permit on October 18, 2022, of their intent to use the proposed building on the north lot for a solid waste transfer station (July 2022 motion to the County Hearing Examiner for a continuance). In May 2022, the applicant also applied for a solid waste permit on the north lot filed with the Environmental Health Services Division, County Deptartment of Health.

3. Waste Transfer Station Requires a CUP

A solid waste transfer station is not permitted outright in the Carlsborg Industrial zoning classification, the designation for both the north and south lots.  As a non-permitted use, the applicant has a right to seek a conditional use permit (CUP) for the use, claiming it is similar to other permitted uses in the zone.

4. No CUP for North Lot for Transfer Station

In this case, the applicant did not seek a CUP for the north lot for a “transfer station.”  Previously, in 2017, the applicant had sought and obtained a CUP on the north site, to operate a “transload” facility,” in a new building to be constructed in the third phase of operation.

5. Applicant Seeks to Use 2017 CUP for a New Transfer Station

In their 2022 building permit application, the applicant sought to come in under that third phase of the prior 2017 CUP approval, identifying the use as a “transload” facility without describing the nature of the proposed use as a “transfer station.”

6. Hearing Examiner Objects to Applicant's Characterization of His 2017 Decision

The applicant’s intended use, however, was well understood.  In its public motion to the hearing examiner in July 2022 concerning the CUP application on the south lot, the applicant argued that a solid waste transfer station is authorized within the zone, pointing to the north-lot 2017 CUP and stating that it already authorized that same type of use on the north lot.  The hearing examiner order granting their motion to continue objected to that characterization of his decision approving the 2017 CUP, thus casting doubt on use of the “transload” moniker as a gateway to approval of a solid waste transfer facility.

7. DCD Didn't Require Clarification on Building Use

As part of the commercial building permit checklist, Clallam County requires the Planning Divison (Department of Community Development) to conduct a review of the application and determine whether it conforms to prior land use permits, the County’s environmental regulations and other land use code or policies.  For reasons that are not well understood, neither the Planning Division nor the Building Official required the applicant to submit an environmental checklist to make those determinations.  They did not require the applicant to file any clarification statement as to the activities that would be included in the proposed “transload” facility.

8. Earlier, DCD Had Recommended Against a Transfer Station

Importantly, just nine months prior, the Planning Division (the Department of Community Development) had issued a negative recommendation to the Hearing Examiner in the exact same zoning designation, stating that a solid waste transfer facility is not consistent with the zoning code or with the County’s adopted Solid Waste Management Plan, which designated the Port Angeles transfer station as the only station in the East County until further regional planning review could be conducted.

9. Building Permit Doesn't Clarify Building Use

The Planning Division (the Department of Community Development) indicated its approval of the building permit on Oct. 11, 2022.  The permit was issued on Oct. 18, 2022.  The permit contains a condition stating that the use must conform to the 2017 CUP, but offers no explanation of whether a solid waste transfer station is one of those authorized uses.  This leaves it up to the parties and the courts to decide whether the Building Permit authorizes a use that is a solid waste transfer station.

10. Three Appeals Filed Against the Building Permit

As a protective measure, lawsuits were filed in two County administrative forums, and a Land Use Petition Act (LUPA) lawsuit was filed in superior court challenging the building permit. All appeals were filed by the LUPA appeal deadline, November 8, 2022.   The lawsuits were filed jointly by the City of Port Angeles, through the law firm of Foster Garvey in Seattle, and by Dykes Ehrlichman Law Firm, representing the following three parties:

  • Citizens for Carlsborg, an informal organization dedicated to opposing location of a waste transfer center within the Carlsborg urban growth area;
  • the Peninsula Trails Coalition, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit advocate for the Olympic Discovery Trail; and
  • A-M Systems LLC, a manufacturer of sensitive hospital-grade equipment with operations adjacent to the site.

11. Appeals Assert County Knew, Should Have Done More

The appeals are asserting that the Clallam County staff were aware that the applicant intended to operate a solid waste transfer station within the new building, and the issuance of a permit for a use that is not permitted by the zoning code or the 2017 CUP is unlawful.  We contend in the lawsuits that, at a minimum, the County should have required additional environmental review for the higher-intensity impacts to be generated by a solid waste transfer facility in the heart of the Carlsborg historic village center, since those impacts were never disclosed or analyzed during the 2017 CUP process.

Map of The North and South Lots

Latest map shows the north lot and the south lot where Waste Connection, Inc., is trying to construct a solid waste transfer station.

Latest Permits and Appeals

For the documents and timeline related to 970 Carlsborg Rd., the new site where Waste Connections is trying to build a solid waste transfer station, click the button below.

Waste Connections Looks to Current Site for Transfer Station

On October 21, 2022, Murrey’s Disposal Company, Inc., owned by Waste Connections, Inc., withdrew its application for a transfer station across from the U.S. Post Office, in Carlsborg, Washington. The company is now planning to build an 11,250-square-foot transfer station on the 2017 site (970 Carlsborg Rd.). That site was approved for an office, maintenance bays, and a “transload or bailing facility.”