Westside Story: Mining … Coming 2014

Cover Story & Photo – Joseph Boyle

One of my loyal readers asked me to do some investigative reporting on the new sign located on Bridgeport Way W at 67th Av W in The City of University Place, which reads “Mining … Coming 2014”.

I drove out and saw the sign. The sign did not make sense to me. I wondered if “Mining” was the name of a family fun place where you can mine for gold with old fashioned gold pans. Maybe Mining was the name of new hamburger joint. They might have food like the Miner Burger or Fools Gold Fries.

I found the answer to my reader’s question in an article written by Brynn Grimley, Staff Writer for The Tacoma News Tribune dated November 19, 2013.

While I fully understand the residential neighbors’ concerns about traffic, noise, dumpsters and food smells, the neighbors need to take a giant step back and look at the big picture.

Mining ... Coming

Mining … Coming 2014

Brian McGuire owns the subject property. He has a bundle of property rights. It looks like he is willing to give up some of his property rights in exchange for the new right to develop the property to be more in keeping with the area in which the land is located.

He did not bring the mining property into the neighborhood in the middle of the night. The property and its current zoning has been in place for decades, long before the houses were built. Much of the entire area has been historically used for gravel mining.

When the neighbors purchased their single family homes, Bridgeport Way, which is a major arterial, was already in place. Mr. McGuire’s property cries out for economically sound commercial development.

Folks, there are no surprises here. Instead of questioning Mr. McGuire’s desire to enjoy the highest and best use of his property, you might question your decision related to moving into a home that may obviously suffer from a poorly chosen location issue.

When it comes to real estate, Mr. McGuire knows what he is doing. Additionally, he is an intelligent businessman. It would appear to me that the complaining neighbors in the area did not know what they were doing when they purchased single family homes next to a major arterial.

It truly pains me to see any citizen suffer for their poor judgement. While I agree that I would not wish to live next to a smelly dumpster banging hamburger joint, the only ethical choice is to either allow Mr. McGuire to start his mining operation or approve his request for an economically sound zoning change that intelligently fits the Bridgeport arterial corridor.

The homeowners present a tired old story. Homeowners purchase homes next to a garbage dumps, rifle ranges and airports and then complain about the smell, seagulls, gunfire and air traffic noise. The real problem in these cases is the failure of the homeonwers to do their due diligence regarding the top 3 rules required to make a sound real estate purchase; location, location, location. In this case, homes were purchased next to land zoned for gravel mining. The purchasers could chose to explore possible failure to disclose a property defects issues with the involved realtors and / or the property seller as a potential solution, but do not punish Mr. McGuire for your apparent error in judgement.

If the City of University Place wishes to “downzone” the property, then they should be prepared to issue a city check payable to Mr. McGuire for his financial loss.

Anyone wishing to control the ultimate outcome of this decade long battle could consider attempting to purchase the property. The new owner would be free to donate the land to the city for use as a park. You could call it “The No Mining – No Business Park”.

We recoil in horror when we hear news of Somalian pirates robbing and plundering innocent sailers on the high seas in far away places.

Let’s not stand by and watch any citizen or government confiscate Mr. McGuire’s property value. After all, the only difference between a confiscation on the high seas or a confiscation in University Place is one uses a saber and the other uses a pencil. The result is the same.

Now that I have clearly stated my opinion, I am confident all who read this will be converted to my way of thinking.

No? Well, at least I tried to do what I can to protect American property rights from being further eroded.


  1. Herb Dayton says

    Thanks for a very factual and well written article. It is unfortunate that when people make poor decisions and/or think they have the right to decide how someone else should use their property, they use a very willing government to solve their problem at the expense of their fellow citizens who made good decisions.
    The undeveloped lakefront street ends in Lakewood are another example of government takings. The property is owned by the abutting property owners. The city has the easement to put in a street, nothing more, nothing less. If the city plans to use these street ends for anything other than a street they must vacate and buy the property from the abutting property owners. At this point Lakewood just plans to steal them just as UP is attempting with Mr. McGuire.
    Private property rights are a bedrock of our freedoms. I would suggest that those who are complaining, attempt to put themselves in Mr. McGuire’s shoes. Would you be willing to for go perhaps a few million in assets because a few neighbors made bad decisions? I don’t think so.

  2. Tim says

    Interesting article. I lost sympathy for Mr. McGuire when I read he’s trying to strong-arm the city into a zoning change. Maybe he should have done his due diligence before buying that property. Mine away, but don’t expect to be handed a zoning change just because it will net you more money.

  3. Herb Dayton says

    Tim,( of no last name and apparently questionable thought process)
    To what is it that you object? Mr. McGuire making a profit and thereby increasing tax revenues to the city of UP or just capitalism and freedom in general?
    For the record, an anonymous response is not a response!

  4. Herb Dayton says

    Your response is just ridiculous! How is it that a property owner who wants to develop his property to its highest and best use and who is being denied that right buy a government that did not even exist when the property was purchased be considered the recipient of a government handout? I do not know or care where you fall on the political spectrum. I am however very concerned that you vote with your lack of understanding basic principles of government and it’s role in society.