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Violations alleged at Diamond Bluff project

In its second day of operation, trucks hauling sand through Diamond Bluff allegedly violated terms of a Pierce County agreement for the controversial project.

According to an attorney for the Citizens of Diamond Bluff group, the trucks have been hauling sand through town without tarps covering their loads. The attorney, Patrick Hynes, called on Pierce County Department of Land Management Director Andy Pichotta to terminate a conditional use permit issued to the contractor.

"There are a lot of angry people," Hynes said Friday. "It's one of those things where it's so easy to do -- it just shows they just don't care."

The tarp requirement was added to the agreement to help reduce dust issues as the trucks roll through the tiny river town.

Taylor Luke, project manager for the contractor, LS Marine, said he was not aware of the allegations, but said if the trucks hauling sand through town are in violation of the agreement, it "would be remedied immediately."

Pierce County Zoning Administrator Jim Kleinhans learned of the allegations Friday afternoon and said he would check on the operation to review compliance.

If the trucks are in violation, he said, "That's a problem."

"We're going to monitor that situation," Kleinhans said.

Controversy has followed the project since early this year, when residents began raising concerns.

Residents first objected in January to the $1.83 million dollar project, claiming the constant parade of dump trucks offloading the sand would disrupt life and jeopardize safety in the town.

The project involves barges unloading 400,000 cubic yards of sand from Corps Island to a temporary dock on private Diamond Bluff land, where it is transferred to the trucks. LS Marine predicts truck traffic to be about 18 vehicles every hour from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., five days a week for 145 days.

News of the allegations surprised Kleinhans, who said he was not aware the trucking operation had begun. He said the contractor was supposed to notify the county that it had started.

Luke said the operation became active on Tuesday.

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