PARK JUNCTION, WA-With final arguments concluding this week, a Pierce County hearings examiner will decide over the next few weeks whether to grant a land-use permit allowing construction of a resort and golf course near this rural community just off the road to Paradise.

The resort would be built around a $9-million golf course and conference facilities for 500 on 440 acres between Ashford and Elbe, along Highway 706. Plans also include a 270-room lodge, 300 vacation homes, a retail center, a train station and an interpretive center. Advocates argue the upscale resort will boost the rural economy with new jobs. Critics say the resort is too much for the rural area, and would displace a huge elk herd that winters on a roadside pasture.

The attorney for the critics is asking Causseaux to reject as insufficient an environmental report on ways the resort could deal with volcanic eruptions and other problems, including a lack of proper water and fire services. The attorney for developer Park Junction Partners argued the report thoroughly covers the environmental issues, and that the developers will work out water supply problems with the state Department of Ecology and pay their fair share of fire protection costs.

Park Junction Partners consists of Gayle and Cora Adams of Elbe and Portland contractor Selwyn Bingham. They began the Park Junction resort effort in 1994. A decision is expected in October.

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