Letters to Editor for April 16, 2013

Leave Humane Society alone

I was quite angry after reading the article about the West Columbia Gorge Humane Society being harassed by the owner of a neighboring company.

Mr. Jesse Hutton, owner of Northwest Underwater Construction, does not like to hear dogs barking and has started a personal crusade against the Humane Society. First of all, Mr. Hutton made the decision to locate his business next to a Humane Society that had been located in the same area for 18 years. He sounds like the same fools that move next to an airport then complain about plane noise.

The Humane Society provides an important service to our community by providing shelter to animals that need temporary safe shelter until they are adopted. The dogs in the shelter, though they are getting excellent care, will bark because they were either lost from their homes, or had been given up by owners that were forced to give up their beloved pets due to health issues requiring them to go into medical facilities that do not allow pets.

These poor dogs are going to bark out of sadness or frustration or fear. The wonderful people that give their time to care for these animals do not need or deserve to have Mr. Hutton following them around and stalking them with a video camera. I too would be afraid if someone was sitting on the street with a video camera watching me go to and from work, how far is he willing to go to harass the employees?

I also resent that the taxpayers paid for a sound reduction wall to be built to appease him, he should have paid for the wall himself since it was his poor decision to locate there in the first place. I feel that Mr. Hutton should either place a stereo system in his office or perhaps a water feature to create a more soothing sound to cover the sound of dogs. Perhaps he should relocate to a different building in the industrial area. Whatever he does, the Humane Society should be left in peace to do their jobs without the unnerving stalking from a man obviously a bit obsessed.

Nuisance noise ordinances are for residential areas. Mr. Hutton should look up from his video camera long enough to see that he is in an industrial area, with all kinds of loud noises all day long. Leave them alone.

Sherri Irish, Washougal

Letter to NW Underwater Construction

We want to welcome Northwest Underwater Construction, Ballard Dive and Salvage, Marine Holding Company I, Inc., Maritime Investment Company, to Washougal, owned by Shilo and Jesse Hutton.

You have done a fine job fixing up the old Trojan Manufacturing, Inc. warehouse and office buildings in the Port of Camas/Washougal for your business. We hope your business is successful and that the future expansion of your services are fulfilled.

I see that you have many property holdings and businesses. Apparently you are a knowledgeable business person to be so successful.

One business is located at 19617 N.E. 58th St., Vancouver. I have been by there over the years and have seen your operation. I noticed there is an airport adjacent to your land there, as well as a large wrecking yard next door. Airports and wrecking yards are well known to generate high noise levels.

You have been in business long enough to know the basic principles for locating a business. Due diligence in choosing a new business location would dictate the business owner would select a location where the surrounding uses and businesses would be compatible. Therefore, it would seem that you were aware of your neighboring uses and businesses when you decided to move into the Industrial Park in Washougal.

Yes, the City has a nuisance ordinance, which in part states: “This chapter shall not apply to:...(e) Any animal which is allowed by the zoning code.” Chapter 9.73 of the City’s Code has to do with noise, which I am sure your company’s legal counsel has reviewed, based on his recommendation for you to document the “noise” incidents.

May I suggest you also document the trains, trucks, your equipment and low flying aircraft in the vicinity for a fair comparison?

The land use zoning for your parcel, and adjacent parcels is “heavy industrial.” This zoning allows for your type of business, as well as kennels (e.g. West Columbia Gorge Humane Society). Under Code 9.73.030 Exception “(11) Sounds created by lawfully established commercial and industrial uses; and indicates that the kennel noise is acceptable in this zoning.

I have a solution with your beef with the Humane Society.

The WCGHS is a 501(c)3 corporation and a non-profit organization. There are nearby sites in the Industrial Park that are available for purchase. It would be great to have a larger facility to accommodate the needs of this “no kill” facility, which has a tremendous community support.

Your donation to the WCGHS of real properties to give the Humane Society a larger facility would be a nice federal tax deduction. It would be a win - win situation. You get the peace and quiet you need, the shelter gets a larger facility. You also get a big deduction on your 2013 income tax return.

Look into solutions instead of fighting the problem which you created yourself when you located you business here.

Jay and Helen Elder, Washougal