After being cited by the state for violations of federal and state environmental laws, local engineer and business owner Kevin McKenny on Thursday resigned from the Humboldt County Planning Commission.
McKenny is a licensed civil engineer who owns KH McKenny Construction Inc. in Eureka. He has served on several local boards and commissions including the City Of Eureka Building Appeals Board, Humboldt Community Services District Board of Directors and the Humboldt Local Agency Formation Commission. He has served on the planning commission for more than four years.
Inspections by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers found McKenny had developed the property without proper permitting and allowing illegal discharge of waste on the Third Slough, which is a tributary of the Eureka Slough and Humboldt Bay. The violations cited in the inspections included installing pipes and drains in the slough floodplain, which Thompson said they hypothesize were installed to remove water from the site to allow for development.
Part of the cleanup order will require McKenny to explain why the pipes and drains were installed.
“We want to hear from him on why he put the pipes there,” Thompson said.
Other violations cited include illegal grading of a wetland, removal of riparian habitat and pushing slash and waste into riparian areas.
Last week, three local environmental groups — Environmental Protection Information Center, Northcoast Environmental Center and Humboldt Baykeeper called for McKenny to resign from the Planning Commission after the state cited him for violations such as illegal grading, floodplain drainage and disposal.
“His conduct is not befitting an individual on the Planning Commission, particularly as the county moves to enforce violations of the its cannabis land use ordinance,” the groups’ May 11 statement reads. “Therefore, our organizations call for his immediate resignation. Should Mr. McKenny fail to resign, we ask that the Board of Supervisors remove him from his position.
“... We deserve Planning Commissioners who understand and respect local, state, and federal environmental protections,” the statement says in conclusion.