Advisory panels offer different recommendations on Burley Lagoon geoduck proposal
Two local land-use advisory commissions this week issued contrasting recommendations about shoreline permits that would allow Taylor Shellfish to convert 25.5 acres on Burley Lagoon from Manilla clam and oyster farming to growing geoducks.
The Pierce County hearing examiner will analyze the public comments, recommendations, environmental impact statement and other information and hold a public hearing in the fall. After that hearing, the examiner will pass its decision to the state Department of Ecology, which has the final say.
On Monday, May 22, about 100 people attended a joint public hearing before the Key Peninsula and Gig Harbor land use advisory commissions, 70 in person and 30 online. Forty-four people testified against the proposal. Nobody spoke in favor.
On Tuesday, the Gig Harbor commission voted 3-2 to recommend denying the needed shoreline permits.
On Thursday, the Key Peninsula commission voted 5-2 to recommend approving the permits with several conditions.
A final environmental impact statement, issued Jan. 6, found only “temporary moderate impact based on best available science. … With the possible exception of aesthetics and recreation, no significant unavoidable adverse impacts were identified.”
Neighbors argued that the geoduck farm could endanger critical habitat along Burley Lagoon. Others expressed concerns about the use of plastic in the farm and possible noise and odor problems it would create for neighbors.
Click here to listen to an audio recording of the Key Peninsula commission. Click here to hear an audio recording from the Gig Harbor commission. Testimony from the joint land use advisory commission meetings is here.