Port to surrender more than $350,000 worth of development rights
By NATHAN WHALEN
Whidbey News Times Staff reporter
November 6, 2012 · Updated 2:38 PM
After months of work, leaders for the Port of Coupeville have a dollar amount for a conservation easement they want to place on the agricultural, recreational and environmentally sensitive lands at the Greenbank Farm.
The Port of Coupeville, which owns the Greenbank Farm, is also giving up the development rights to two strips of property on either side of Wonn Road. An appraisal of those properties places the value of those development rights at $359,000.
The appraisal amount comes as good news for leaders of the port and Greenbank Farm.
“I’d say the prices came out better than the prices we’ve been talking about for the past year,” Michael Stansbury, president of the Greenbank Farm Management Group, said during a Friday morning special meeting of the port commissioners.
The commissioners held the special meeting to examine the appraisal amounts developed by Edmonds-based Terra Valuations.
Pat Powell, executive director for the Whidbey Camano Land Trust, presented several options for the commissioners to consider. The Whidbey Camano Land Trust is helping facilitate the process to develop an easement for the Greenbank Farm.
The commissioners agreed to surrender the development rights to 7.4 acres of land located in rectangular strips on either side of Wonn Road. In addition, the commissioners would also designate the playground, which is 0.4 acres would be moved from the agricultural zone to the commercial zone. Port officials would have to adjust the farm’s zoning with Island County to move the playground from agriculture to commercial.
Even though the land around Wonn Road won’t be used for commercial purposes, it can still be used for event parking and there is an option to install a park-and-ride lot at a future date.
The three-member board accepted the appraisal amount with commissioners Benye Weber and Laura Blankenship supporting it while Marshall Bronson voted against it.
Bronson said he voted against it because he preferred the second alternative presented. That second option would have added an acre of agriculture land to the commercial zone. It would have also lowered the appraisal to $345,000.
The Board of Island County Commissioners in 2011 also awarded the port a Conservation Futures Fund award up to $400,000 for the conservation easement.
The formal appraisal documents will be presented to the commissioners during its Nov. 14 along with a draft conservation easement. If approved, the documents will also go to Island County for review.
The conservation easement could go before the Island County commissioners for approval during its Dec. 17 meeting.
Contact Whidbey News Times Staff reporter Nathan Whalen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-675-6611 ext. 5058.