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King County approves proposed asphalt plant near Cedar River

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Tony Dejak/AP
The region continues to see demand for asphalt for building and repairing roads, parking lots and other projects. A semi-sold form of petroleum and aggregates, asphalt has to be made nearby in order to keep it hot during transit. In this file photo, Jarrett Barth, left, and coworkers replace asphalt at an apartment complex in Lyndhurst, Ohio, on Wednesday, May 6, 2020.

RENTON, Wash. (AP) — After years of protest, moratoriums and delays, King County has granted approval for a proposed asphalt plant to be built in Renton on the banks of the Cedar River.

The county’s Department of Local Services ruled Thursday that the project, which has been fiercely opposed by neighbors and environmental groups, “does not pose a probable significant adverse impact to the environment,” as long as the company takes mitigation measures.

The decision comes six years after Lakeside Industries bought the 25-acre parcel on Highway 169 and nearly four years after Lakeside, which has a dozen asphalt plants in Western Washington, first applied to build the plant, the Seattle Times reported.

The county also said an environmental impact statement — which had been requested by the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe and others — was not necessary.

The site sits about 50 yards from the Cedar River, separated by a five-lane highway and bike path. A traffic study found the plant will require 460 truck trips each weekday.

The site was rezoned in 2008, in a little-noticed amendment to a massive piece of mandatory legislation. It was shifted from rural, with only one home allowed every 5 acres, to industrial.

Lakeside bought the site in 2016 for $9.5 million, five times its assessed value.