The reconsideration was denied. That’s the latest development in a long-running dispute between Pierce County’s Department of Planning and Land Services and Mayo Cove herring pen owner Derwin Hostetler. The county maintained that Hostetler lacked permits necessary to operate the herring pens, while the marina operator claimed legal nonconforming rights, which, if found to be valid, would have allowed him to continue the operation.

However, on April 21, 2006, Hearing Examiner Mark E. Hurdelbrink upheld the county’s cease and desist order when he concluded that Hostetler did not have nonconforming rights. Hostetler and his attorney appealed the decision on May 3, arguing there had been “errors of procedure and misinterpretation of fact,” as well as “clerical mistakes.”   “At this point they (Hostetler and his attorney) still have the opportunity to appeal to the Superior Court as part of the LUPA process (Land Use Petition Act),” Mark Luppino, code enforcement officer for Pierce County, said. “Mr. Hostetler could also apply for the permits necessary to run a herring pen operation — although it’s unclear as to whether such an application would be approved.”

In the meantime, based on the hearing examiner’s latest decision, the pens will have to be removed. “If he doesn’t remove the pens, the county will get a court order to remove them and do so at taxpayers’ expense,” Luppino said.

When a KP News reporter dropped by the marina to speak with Hostetler about the pens, they were gone. When asked how the pens had been disposed of, Hostetler replied, “I do what I feel like doing. Within the law.”

Large frames with attached floats were clearly visible just north of the pier leading out to Hostetler’s marina. Part of the weathered structure had been pulled up onto the beach and part of it extended out into shallow water. According to a local resident who has a boat moored at the Lakebay marina, the partially beached frames constituted the remains of Hostetler’s herring pens.

As for the possibility of an appeal to Superior Court, Hostetler said, “When my lawyer gets back from vacation, I’m going to talk to him about it.”

When asked if he might apply for the state permits to legally operate herring pens in Mayo Cove, Hostetler said, “I have to get the county off my back first. Or at least that’s my understanding. They (the state) have no problem with the herring pens.”


To read the full text of the communication from Hurdelbrink to Hostetler and his attorney, click here. (PDF format)
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