Thursday, December 18, 2014

All Eyes on Tumwater’s Historic Old Brewery

Above: No bulldozers in sight. An aerial photograph taken today over Tumwater’s Old Brewery reveals the area disturbed by significant grading and fill placement in October. City of Tumwater staff met with staff members from the state Department of Ecology’s Shorelands Program and Water Quality Program as well as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to inspect the site on November 14.

By Janine Unsoeld

As 2014 draws to a close, several sets of eyes are still fixed on the historic Old Brewhouse property in Tumwater. The stop work order continues, put in place by the City of Tumwater in October due to a citizen complaint about significant activities that adversely impacted the environment.
“The stop work order is still in place and will be in place until a mitigation plan is developed for the wetland impact, said Chris Carlson, permitting manager for the City of Tumwater, who has given regular updates on the situation to Little Hollywood.

Carlson said that city staff met with staff members from the state Department of Ecology’s Shorelands Program and Water Quality Program as well as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on site on November 14 at the Old Brewhouse property. 
“We all agreed that a mitigation plan needs to be developed and submitted to the city for review and approval. The property owner will also be required to make application(s) to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the unauthorized work and be subject to any mitigation required under federal law,” said Carlson.

“As a part of the stop work order we have required that a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) be developed and implemented for the disturbed areas on the south side of the building to prevent water quality impacts. The SWPPP has been submitted to the city and approved. …The SWPPP we approved includes seeding the disturbed areas and covering the disturbed areas with coconut fabric. Staking in straw waddles will also be done on both sides of the road that leads around the building as well as putting a filter fabric stock in the exposed catch basin on the south side of the building,” said Carlson in an email to Little Hollywood in mid- November.
Carlson initially expected applications and mitigation plans to be submitted to the city, Ecology and the Corps for review within 30 days from the day of the initial site visit, however, that expectation turned out to be overly optimistic.

In an email dated December 13 to Little Hollywood, Carlson said the city just got the survey on December 11 outlining the area of the Category III wetland behind the brewhouse that was partially filled.
“Since we received the survey, we’ve been working with the wetland consultants -both the property owner’s and the one working on the Brewery Planned Action Environmental Impact Statement - to identify a mitigation site along the Deschutes River corridor so work on the mitigation plan can begin,” said Carlson. Carlson said he will keep Little Hollywood posted when the city decides on a site and the draft mitigation plan is submitted for review.

Carlson provided Little Hollywood with a map that indicates two disturbed wetland areas directly south of the brewhouse on the hillside containing artesian springs. The area disturbed by grading and fill placement encompasses a combined 5,011 square feet.
There are currently no permits in place at the Old Brewhouse site, says City of Tumwater building official John Darnell.  

“The stop work order is still in effect. They will need to submit plans and engineering to us for review before any additional work can be completed….The on-site erosion control measures that the city required the owner to put in place are complete. I will continue to monitor throughout the winter,” said Darnell.

Above: An aerial photograph taken this morning over the Old Brewery and the Deschutes River.
Role of the Tumwater Historic Commission

Meanwhile, the Tumwater Historic Commission reviews applications for projects within the historic district and approves or denies applicant requests for a certificate of appropriateness, which is required as a part of the permitting process.
The commission is looking at several upcoming projects which will require the historical commission’s review before they are approved for development, including projects at the Old Brewhouse.

Chuck Denney, City of Tumwater Parks and Recreation director said George Heidgerken, owner of the historic Old Brewhouse property, does not have a Certificate of Appropriateness before the Historic Commission at this time. 
“….Should any of his brewery projects solidify and he reaches the point where he is submitting paperwork for a development permit – meaning he has a site development plan and is prepared to move forward with construction – he will then be required to obtain the certificate from the commission as a part of the permitting process.  The work he is currently doing does not trigger that requirement. There are several projects in the planning stages in the Historic District that may require the commission’s approval.  Those may include something from Mr. Heidgerken, but also include development of the Deschutes Valley Trail through the Historic District and the reconstruction of the fish hatchery at Tumwater Falls Park,” said Denney.

Public Comment to Proposed Land Use Options
Several state agencies, local governments, nonprofit organizations and individuals weighed in by the October 20 deadline to comment on the city’s land use determination of significance for redevelopment of the site.

The Nisqually Indian Tribe, Washington State Departments of Archaeology and Historical Preservation, Natural Resources, and Ecology, City of Olympia, LOTT Clean Water Alliance, Black Hills Audubon Society, Deschutes Estuary Restoration Team, South Puget Environmental Education Clearinghouse (SPEECH), and the World Temperate Rainforest Network plus seven individuals provided the City of Tumwater with detailed comments about the proposed land use options provided by the city.
Jackie Wall of the Nisqually Indian Tribe, wrote, “The Deschutes River is a very Culturally Sensitive Area that was used by our people for thousands of years. The Nisqually Indian Tribe requests an Archaeological Survey be done by a qualified Archaeologist before there are any ground disturbing activities. I would like to receive a copy of the survey results. The Nisqually Indian Tribe also requests that an Inadvertent Discovery Plan be put in place for this project.”

She also asked to be informed if there are any inadvertent discoveries of archaeological resources or human burials.

A letter and paper submitted by Pat Rasmussen documents that the Steh-chass people lived in a permanent village at the base of Tumwater Falls for time immemorial.

“The village was originally Nisqually but after the Treaty of 1855 became part of Squaxin Island, in their Stehchass Inlet. As the Steh-chass were driven from the permanent village site by settlers who took it over, some fled to Nisqually and others to Squaxin, so there are likely descendents with knowledge of what happened there.” 

She attached an 1854 map she received from the Washington State Historical Society that shows the area with the name Steh-chass on the river, now called the Deschutes River.

For several past stories on Tumwater and its Brewery District Plan, the Old Brewhouse owner and developer George Heidgerken, and the stop work order, go to Little Hollywood, and type key words into the search engine. Recent stories were posted on February 19, October 12, October 16, October 30, and November 5, 2014.
Editor’s Note: Janine Unsoeld also met the October 20 deadline to comment on the city’s Determination of Significance and as a private citizen, requested a stop work order on all activities at the Old Brewery site. This is documented in an article on Little Hollywood dated October 30, 2014. Unsoeld is also a long-time board member of the South Puget Environmental Education Clearinghouse (SPEECH), a 25-year-old nonprofit organization that publishes the South Sound Green Pages.

Above: An aerial photograph taken this morning approaching the Old Brewery from Olympia places the site in the context of the Deschutes River, Tumwater Historic Park and Interstate 5.