Crematory appeal rescheduled

Citizens and business owners in Carlsborg and Jason Linde, owner of Linde Family Funeral Service, will need to wait three additional weeks for an appeal of the Clallam County hearing examiner's approval of Linde's proposal to install a cremation chamber in Carlsborg.

There are two appeals pending against the crematory, one for a building permit and another for the approval of the business to be located in Carlsborg.

While the finalized building permit appeal will go forward Aug. 27, the appeal of the project's overall approval has been pushed back from Aug. 19 to Sept. 16.

The appeals were raised by Gerald Steel, attorney for a citizens group opposed to the crematory, and Craig Miller, attorney for Gabby's Java owner Brian Magner.

After listening to arguments from Miller and Linde's attorney Dave Neupert during its Aug. 11 study session, the Clallam County commissioners opted to hear the appeal of the conditional use permit on Sept. 16.

The conditional use permit, awarded by hearing examiner Christopher Melly, allows the crematory to operate in the Carlsborg light industrial park.

Steel made the request to delay the hearing due to medical reasons and was not present at Monday's meeting.

Neupert argued that his client has a right to a speedy process, adding that Clallam County Code directs the commissioners to make a decision within 60 days of the appeal, or Sept. 2 in this case.

"My client does not agree with this request," he said. "There is no new evidence or witnesses and the code states the delay can only go forward if the applicant agrees, which he does not."

Neupert said Linde is paying about $5,000 a week to make two to three trips to the Seattle area every day to take his clients' loved ones to a cremation chamber in that area before returning the remains to Sequim.

Marc Nichols, Clallam County chief civil deputy prosecuting attorney, told the commissioners that the code does identify a 60-day time frame but he added that case law gives them flexibility to go beyond that deadline.

Miller pointed out that the code has no penalties should the commissioners go past the 60-day time frame.

The three commissioners, Steve Tharinger, D-Dungeness, Mike Doherty, D-Port Angeles, and Mike Chapman, I-Port Angeles, voted to delay the meeting until Sept. 16, during their regular Tuesday morning meeting at 10:30 a.m.

"It seems to me if Mr. Steel has a legitimate medical concern and if he is a sole practitioner, then a continuance is reasonable," Doherty said, indicating if Steel had a partner in his legal firm there would be another attorney to take his place.

Nichols said if Steel is unable to make the Sept. 16 hearing, he would need to find a replacement or have the Citizens for Carlsborg group go unrepresented.

The appeal of the finalized building permit and certificate of occupancy of 108 Business Park Loop, issued by the Clallam County Department of Community Development, will be heard by Melly during his regular Wednesday meeting at 1 p.m. Aug. 27 in the Clallam County Courthouse, 223 E. Fourth St., Port Angeles.

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