Truck-building company fined over unpermitted work in Maltby

MALTBY — A truck-building company agreed this week to pay Snohomish County $1,500 in fines over grading work that a contractor performed without permits at the site of a future warehouse.

That’s not all. OSW Equipment &Repair also is looking at some steep costs to resume construction at the Broadway Avenue property, where crews continued to run heavy equipment for two days after a county code-enforcement officer told them to stop. County attorneys sued Aug. 18 to enforce the stop-work order.

Because the work started without approval, county code doubles the permit fee. That’s due to push permitting costs above $70,000, compared to roughly $35,000 had plans been approved in advance, county staff said.

County permit reviewers intend to continue processing any plans that come in for the project.

“We’ll do a timely review of permits,” said Tom Rowe, a special projects manager in the county executive’s office. “Our biggest concern at this point is water quality.”

The agreement to pay the fine was memorialized in a court order finalized Tuesday. It was signed by attorneys for the county and OSW, plus Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Cindy Larsen. Other signatories were Hos Brothers Construction, whose crews were working at the site, and TEC Holdings 80, an LLC that owns the property and in which OSW has a controlling stake.

The order also grants an injunction to prevent any work at the construction site until all permits are in order. It also requires that crews take steps to protect water quality by stopping erosion and keeping sediment from leaving the site. That could include temporary detention ponds, silt fences, water treatment or straw ground cover.

Hos Brothers denied any knowledge of the stop-work order and will contest both violations, the order says. The company denies that it was responsible for obtaining permits for grading and other activities.

The 10-acre property borders wetlands. The state Department of Ecology is aware of the situation.

A county code-enforcement officer first noticed problems at 20812 Broadway Ave. on Aug. 15, after receiving a complaint from a neighbor. He reported posting a stop-work order, but returned the next day to find several pieces of heavy construction equipment still at work. Activity stopped on the third day, after a visit by Josh Dugan, a planning department manager who oversees code enforcement.

“Ever since my site visit out there (on Aug. 17) they’ve been very communicative and cooperative,” Dugan said Wednesday.

OSW builds dump trucks and other heavy construction equipment. It currently works out of other industrial buildings in the unincorporated Maltby area of Snohomish County. The company intends to consolidate at the new facility, where it expects to invest nearly $18 million and employ 130 workers.

OSW President Jay DeNoma declined to comment on the legal agreement with the county.

On Wednesday, DeNoma, county staff and Maltby-area neighbors testified during hearing examiner proceedings about approving a site plan for the new facility. The hearing examiner’s review was under way before any code-enforcement problems came to light. It’s unrelated to the Superior Court case over code violations.

After the hearing examiner adjourned, DeNoma spoke to nearby residents about the project.

“I’m here to work with the neighbors and to make sure we address all of their concerns,” he said.

Hearing examiner Peter Camp expects to approve, deny or send the project back for changes within four weeks. Camp explained that he has the authority to impose specific land-use conditions, but no influence over code enforcement. Neighbors asked the examiner to consider ways to limit noise, light and traffic impacts.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; Twitter: @NWhaglund.

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