Timber Harvesting Documents Available

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Port Ludlow Village Council has placed a number of valuable documents on their website presenting extensive research into both the history and legalities of the Timber Harvesting Issue.

After you read through this material, prepared by the Ad Hoc Timber Harvesting Committees, you’ll have a much better understanding of various aspects of this issue.

We encourage you to take the time to examine these documents.

Go to www.plvc.org to check out the selection of items to choose on the main menu.

Timber Harvest Update at PLVC Meeting, August 6th – 3pm Bay Club

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                                            PLVC MEETING TOMORROW                                                                                             August 6 – 3PM, Bay Club                                                  Tree Harvest Update

  • Representatives of County, PLA and Ad Hoc Tree Harvesting Committees will be there to update you on this critical subject
  • Your attendance will indicate your interest in the topic, and you are encouraged to make your feelings known to those involved

 Ad Hoc Committees Activities

It has been three months since Jefferson County issued letters to PLA, Keith Guise and their logging contractor Cedarland Forest Resources notifying them that their commercial timber harvesting in Single Family Tract (SFT) and Open Space Reserve (OSR) zones within the Port Ludlow Master Planned Resort was in violation of applicable zoning laws. Since that time, SBCA, LMC and PLVC have all formed special committees to review the issues relating to the timber harvesting. The committees’ goal has been to seek negotiations with PLA and/or Jefferson County or other persons deemed appropriate regarding remedies for these violations or other adverse consequences of the harvesting. Each organization has sent formal letters to Jefferson County outlining its expectations for an acceptable resolution.

In a letter response to Jefferson County dated May 19, the attorney for PLA stated that timber harvesting was a long-standing practice in this area and offered several other arguments why the harvesting supposedly was not in violation of the zoning code, including that permits had been issued by the Washington Department of Natural Resources. There are over 500 additional acres, almost 23% of the entire Port Ludlow MPR, that potentially could be clear-cut.

PLA initiated a “dispute resolution” process under the terms of the Port Ludlow Development Agreement, calling for the parties to attempt to resolve the dispute by negotiation or mediation before resorting to litigation. Although the County had seemed poised to issue a letter to PLA about the timber harvesting along Cameron Drive and Argyle Lane in the “Recreation Area” zone (the golf course), upon receipt of the May 19 letter from PLA’s counsel the County apparently decided to put that letter on hold while the issues relating to the other timber harvesting were being worked out.

The three special committees , chaired by Dave Jurca of SBCA, Dave McDearmid of LMC and Bill Dean of PLVC, have been working in concert to analyze the applicable laws and contractual provisions of the Port Ludlow Development Agreement entered into between Jefferson County and PLA’s predecessor-in-interest (Pope) in May 2000. The committees’ positions and arguments have been presented to Jefferson County in several written submissions and at Board of County Commissioners meetings. The committee chairs have had multiple meetings with County officials and PLA. County Commissioner Kathleen Kler has visited the affected areas and attended the PLVC meetings on June 4 and July 2, where she answered questions from residents. She expressed her understanding of the residents’ concerns and pledged to work within the County processes to try to resolve the dispute.

The County and PLA have treated their negotiations as “confidential” and have not shared with the committee chairs the substance of those negotiations. Representatives of the Port Ludlow community are not being allowed to attend or participate in the discussions between the County and PLA, but the three committee chairs have met separately with PLA’s owner Randy Verrue on three occasions, the most recent being yesterday, August 4. At this time PLA is reserving further comment until it has received additional information from its attorney. Another meeting with Mr. Verrue is scheduled for next week. As far as we know, there have not been any substantive negotiations between the County and either Guise or Cedarland.

It is the committees’ position that under the Development Agreement and applicable law timber harvesting was not, and never should be, permitted within the MPR, except for the purpose of clearing land for residential development or other permissible uses under the MPR zoning code. This is the committees’ overarching concern, but two additional issues are being emphasized in the discussions with both PLA and the County. Those are remediation of the environmental impacts of the logging, including addressing both the visual blight and other adverse environmental impacts, and forfeiture of profits from the logging that was done in violation of applicable zoning restrictions.

The committees are encouraged that on July 13 the County authorized the retaining of a Seattle attorney to prepare an “opinion letter” on various issues relating to the logging. The committees have shared with the County’s attorney their analysis of the pertinent issues. The current expectation is that it will take at least a couple more weeks for the County’s Seattle attorney to render his opinion. The committees will keep you apprised as things develop.

August 5, 2015

eBlast #3: July 20, 2015

This is the third eBlast detailing information relative to the harvesting of trees in the MPR. This presentation was made by Bill Dean to the Jefferson County Commissioners on July 20. It is hoped this will provide additional background and perspective on this important subject.

At the August 6th PLVC meeting representatives from the County and PLA will be available to listen to your questions and provide updated information on the issue.

Summary: Washington State’s intent for an MPR allows for urban zoning in a rural environment to utilize the natural beauty of the area and provide economic benefits for everyone.

Since 1989, Pope and PLA have demonstrated strong intent to have trees within the MPR remain as an aesthetic enhancement for the community. Now, after 25 years of recorded documents reaffirming that position, PLA has decided to perform tree harvesting.

My name is Bill Dean and I live in Port Ludlow.

Two weeks ago Washington State’s intent for the MPR legislation was outlined for you by Dave McDearmid. Briefly, an MPR allows for urban zoning in a rural environment to utilize the natural beauty of the area and provide economic benefits for everyone.

What has been the intent of the Port Ludlow developers?  Let’s take a three minute walk over the last 25 years:

In 1989 – Pope recorded covenants on all of the South Bay area of Port Ludlow that said, in part, “No removal of trees shall take place without approval of the Architectural Control Committee [of SBCA] and that all maintenance of landscaping shall be done to enhance the existing character of South Bay.”

In 1996 – seven years later, Pope recorded covenants on Woodridge Village which required that all vegetation remain in its natural condition.

In 2000 – Four years later, and after exacting legislation of the MPR, the county and Pope signed the development agreement in which “Open Space shall be nmaintained in perpetuity and serve to enhance the aesthetic quality of the MPR.”

In 2003, three years later – the new developer, PLA, recorded covenants on Olympic Terrace Village which specifies “common areas shall remain in natural condition.”

In 2007, four years after that – PLA recorded covenants for Olympic Terrace II Village which maintained the same theme that common areas shall remain in natural condition.

The developer of Port Ludlow, either Pope or PLA, have continuously demonstrated a strong intent to have the trees within the MPR remain an aesthetic enhancement for the community.

Now, in 2015,  after 25 years of saying otherwise, that same developer is now saying that all along that was not their intent and that they planned to harvest trees since it was a long standing right. This is just inconsistent with what they recorded time and time again. And it is just wrong. We ask that you Commissioners look at this history to support stopping this activity.

Thank you

eBlast #3 – June 20, 2015

Watch out for Logging Permits

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Keep up on DNR permits

To learn about and keep track of newly issued state Department of Natural Resources forest practice permits, visit

1.usa.gov/1FyBEBB where you can sign up for email notifications through DNR’s Forest Practices Application Review System.


Complaint Case created for PLA Logging in Open Space

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April 22 2015

Concerned Citizens,

I thought I would give an update to the PLA Timber Harvest that took place recently in the Open Space Reserve zone of the MPR.  As you may be aware, that harvest was not reviewed by the County for zoning consistency prior to DNR approval, nor should it have been under State law, unless it were to take place in a Urban Growth Area, which the MPR is not.  I was therefore asked by Bill Dean of the PLVC to look at the MPR code to determine whether timber harvesting is allowed in that zone, and my read of the code indicates that it is not an allowed use in the Open Space zone.   I informed Diana Smeland on Friday April 3rd of this and she immediately stopped the harvest.  I then placed stop work orders at both entrances to the site, one of which was removed recently by persons unknown, but which does not allow PLA to continue to harvest – they are hereby prohibited from any additional tree cutting in that zone, although they may remove the logs that had already been cut prior to April 3rd.

I also met with Bill Dean and citizen Dave Jurca who had additional concerns regarding the recent clear cuts along Oak Bay Road which occurred in the Single Family Tract zone.  As a result of all of the above and my consultation with Carl Smith, the UDC Code Enforcement Officer for the County, we have created a complaint case COM15-00058 and we are in the process determining if the Oak Bay harvests may also have been in violation of the MPR code, and if so, what further actions the County should take.   To that end, we are waiting for our legal counsel to return from vacation next week to advise us on these issues.

That’s about all I can tell you at this point.  I will provide an update to you as soon as I know more.

Thanks, and Happy Earth Day!

David Wayne Johnson – LEED AP – Neighborhood Development                                   Associate Planner – Port Ludlow Lead Planner                                                       Department of Community Development, Jefferson County                                   360.379.4465

Port Ludlow Logging on Hold

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Port Ludlow logging on hold                                                                                        By Nicholas Johnson of the Leader                                                                                Posted: Wednesday, April 8, 2015 3:30 am

Logging in Port Ludlow

Forestland may be harvested as a renewable resource, such as this logging activity along Oak Bay Road near the Port Ludlow Village Center. Commercial timber harvesting is not allowed, however, in specific “Open Space Reserve” areas within the Port Ludlow Master Plan Resort boundaries. Jefferson County posted a “stop work” order April 7 to halt “Open Space Reserve” logging activity in Ludlow. Photo by Patrick J. Sullivan55245ba0e51f0.image

Port Ludlow Associates has called off a 25 acre timber harvest within the Port Ludlow Master Planned Resort after learning Friday, April 3 that Jefferson County prohibits such activity.

County planner David Wayne Johnson posted a stopwork order Tuesday, April 7 at the harvest site south of Paradise Bay Road and east of homes along Teal Lake Road.

“We didn’t know it wasn’t allowed,” Diana Smeland, president of Port Ludlow Associates (PLA) said on Tuesday. “If David had come forward earlier or someone had told us, we wouldn’t have done it in the first place.”

Under contract with PLA, Cedarland Forest Resources of Gig Harbor, Washington began harvesting in March, said Smeland, who was not sure how many board feet of timber had been cut so far. Harvesting began about 30 days ago and the project was expected to take 30 to 45 days to complete.

“It’s not like we just went in and slashed the trees,” Smeland said. We went in and picked trees. We worked with the homeowners and left trees in based on their comments.”

Smeland said many of those working for PLA came from Pope Resources, a major timber harvesting company operating in Washington and Oregon.

“We’re used to thinking of trees as farming, as a crop that’s a renewable resource,” said Smeland, clarifying PLA’s intent was to thin the forestland, not clear cut it for future development. “Our intent was to log it and replant in the fall and winter. That’s still our plan, unless we’re told we can’t.”

During the April 2 meeting of the Port Ludlow Village Council, a resident who lives near the harvest site raised the question of whether such activity is allowed within the master planned resort.

The next day, after checking county code, Johnson sent Smeland an email notifying her that the PLA Logging in Port Ludlow Forestland may be harvested as a renewable resource, such as this logging activity along Oak Bay Road near the Port Ludlow Village Center. Commercial timber harvesting is not allowed, however, in specific “Open Space Reserve” areas within the Port Ludlow Master Plan Resort boundaries.

Jefferson County posted a “stop work” order April 7 to halt “Open Space Reserve” logging activity in Ludlow. Photo by Patrick J. Sullivan was harvesting on land zoned as Open Space Reserve, an area in which the county prohibits commercial harvesting.

“I didn’t know that this was going on or where it was going on or if it was an allowed use,” said Johnson, who looked into the purpose of that zoning designation upon learning of the harvesting. “It’s pretty clear the purpose of that area is not about anything but preserving the natural aesthetic. It’s more about maintaining vegetation than removing it.”

Johnson said the PLA is allowed to harvest in other areas of the master planned resort, as has been done around the resort’s golf course and in areas zoned for single family residences.

In this case, the PLA had a Department of Natural Resources (DNR) permit to harvest and sell timber from the site. That permit is necessary when planning to harvest more than 5,000 board­feet of merchantable timber, which amounts to about 2 acres or one full log­truck, according to DNR.

Bill Dean, a member of the Port Ludlow Village Council, said most residents were well aware of the harvesting.

“The fact that there was going to be harvesting was not a secret,” Dean said. “What was not known to any of us was that it was not allowed.”

Dean said area residents had become more aware of harvesting activity in the area after Pope Resources’ Olympic Resource Management clear cut a swath of state­owned forestland just south of Watson Road earlier this year.

“The fact that the parcel south of Watson Road was clear cut in the last 60 days has heightened everybody’s concern in Port Ludlow to clear cutting,” said Dean, pointing out that Olympic Resource Management was initially starting work at 4:30 a.m. and disturbing residents with noise before agreeing to start later each morning. “It used to be forest and now there’s this big open field with tree stumps.”

Johnson said if it wanted to, PLA could request the county do a code interpretation and could appeal the resulting decision to superior court. Smeland said that won’t be necessary.

“We’re going to comply with what DCD says,” she said.

As for who dropped the ball, both Johnson and Smeland are sharing blame at the moment.

“Our ability to enforce the code is severely curtailed by a lack of resources,” Johnson said, acknowledging that one Port Ludlow resident had requested county officials conduct an investigation into potentially illegal harvesting. “To call for an investigation begs the question: what don’t you want us to do in order to make time for that? We just don’t have the resources and it can be hard to explain that to people.”

Smeland said she would have expected Johnson could have checked the legality of the PLA’s harvesting as it was well publicized in the months prior to starting, though she also said she understands the county’s limitations.

“How do they keep up with everything?” Smeland asked. “If you had to check any little thing every single day, how could you even do that? I’m not going to point any fingers. In fact, I probably should have looked closer.”

If allowed to continue, PLA plans to harvest on other parcels zoned as within the master planned resort just north of its current harvest site.

Open Space Reserve Development of the Port Ludlow Master Planned Resort was initiated by timber company Pope & Talbot in the late 1960s on 1,800 acres surrounding the inner portions of Port Ludlow Bay. Land ownership in 1985 was transferred to Pope Resources, and sold in 2001 to Port Ludlow Associates, LLC.


Keep up on DNR permits

To learn about and keep track of newly issued state Department of Natural Resources forest practice permits, visit

1.usa.gov/1FyBEBB where you can sign up for email notifications through DNR’s Forest Practices Application Review System.