Key Peninsula marina dogged by state and county violations has reopened

Key Peninsula’s Lakebay Marina and Lakebay Cafe reopened Wednesday following months of reconstruction and work to meet state and county standards.

The marina, cafe and campgrounds, dogged in the past by county permitting and health violations, announced it’s reopening on Facebook.

“It’s an important thing to have, and it was a lot of work to bring it back. I don’t think a lot of people realize that,” owner Mark Scott said.

Pierce County said all permit requirements have been satisfied for the marina and cafe. A county building official removed restrictions on the building Tuesday. It was cited last month for an unapproved water system and for not having power in the cafe, the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department said.

Before opening, Scott had to replace the water heater, restore power to the first floor, install smoke alarms, add power to the gasoline dispenser, add signs that meet codes, replace door handles, work on rafter structures, remove rot on railings, get a license to sell beer and wine and barricade a second floor that’s now for storage.

Scott paid no more than $1,000 in fees, county spokeswoman Libby Catalinich said.

A large, wooden boat in the cove still has to be taken apart before July 25, the state Department of Ecology said. The work has to follow protocol to ensure no toxic waste or debris is released into the water.

The Department of Natural Resources did not respond to the status of Scott’s permits from that department before deadline.

Scott took over in 2013. Over the years, county and state cited him in a slew of investigations, including:

Operating an illegal RV park.

Running an illegal campground.

Improper food handling.

Water and sewer violations, including RV owners dumping raw sewage into the bay.

Illegal clam and oyster harvesting.

Allowing people to live aboard vessels illegally.

Improperly scuttling boats.

Scott told The News Tribune last year he was being red-taped to death and considered abandoning the property following months of violation notices and issues. Some with mobile homes or boats saw advertisements on Craigslist and began to live on the property without proper housing requirements.

Lakebay Marina is the only public marina on the Key Peninsula.

County Councilman Derek Young said the pier is a community asset, but the priority is the public’s health and well-being.

“It’s a landmark, not just a business. It’s a recreational center, historic landmark, part of the community’s identity,” said Young, whose district includes Key Peninsula. “But we also have a responsibility to protect the public and making sure it’s not going to be a risk to the community.”

The marina began as a pier used to transfer timber for Tacoma in 1884 and was transformed into an egg warehouse for the Washington Co-Operative Egg and Poultry Association until 1956.

The marina made national news in 2016 when a man was arrested after firing a shotgun and saying he had strapped explosives to the marina fuel tanks and the fuel and propane tanks on his boat, The News Tribune reported.

Scott hopes visitors from Tacoma and Puget Sound will come visit for a weekend getaway. He is planning on keeping the marina and cafe open throughout the winter months this year.