Jon Pettit says he hasn’t been fined yet. When appeared before Superior Court Judge Chris Wickham on Sept. 7, he was found in contempt of an injunction that prohibited public camping on the property until litigation between Pettit and Thurston County is resolved.
Pettit owns 28 acres along the river and has allowed the public to camp in summer for free. County code requires a special-use permit for such practices, according to Cliff Moore, director of county Resource Stewardship.
Such a permit would cost Pettit about $6,440 and require a hearing before the hearings examiner. Pettit also would need either a $1,010 shoreline-exemption permit or a $2,640 shoreline-development permit because of the river access, Moore said.
Pettit says his property use is governed by the Shoreline Management Act and refuses to apply for the permit.
“I put up my signs for no more camping activity for this year,” Pettit said. “That was a predetermined thing I had determined a long time ago.”
Pettit still plans to have students from the Black Hills High School cross-country team come to his property for practice and meets. He also has invited classrooms to come study the river, and provides water access to anglers.
There are no pending motions in Pettit’s case, according to Trina Wendel, Superior Court judicial assistant.
“There were some nights where there wasn’t anyone there, just because it’s getting cold outside and people aren’t going camping,” Pettit said. “All things are ending in one direction, but the issues are not over.”
Pettit said he plans to continue the activities he feels “are correct and true” with the shoreline master program next season.
Moore said the county continues to insist he acquire a special-use permit.