City to purchase large portion of Cascade Golf Course for critical water rights, open space

On August 21, 2018 the North Bend City Council unanimously authorized Mayor Ken Hearing to take all necessary action to purchase 28-acres of the Cascade Golf Course, located just outside the city limits off I-90 exit 32.

According to a news release, the City had been in discussions with Si View Metropolitan Park District about future recreational uses, with the collective goal of preserving the land for open space and protecting the land from future development.

If the $2.4 million transaction closes, City of North Bend and Si View Metropolitan Parks will enter into an agreement and the City would likely then sell the majority of the property to Si View to operate a park, while retaining an easement that contains a well with critical water rights.

North Bend Public Information Officer Jill Green said Cascade Golf Course’s (CGC) water rights are worth approximately $400,000. She explained that the land acquisition would not increase taxes as the city is using money saved in the Water Enterprise Fund to purchase the water right. The park portion will be funded in partnership with Si View Metro Parks impact fees.

Per the release: “As a result of ongoing monitoring and review of water supplies in the Upper Snoqualmie Watershed, the City discovered that the water on the property may benefit City utility customers by providing mitigation water for Centennial Well withdrawals. Although Centennial Well provides ample water supply for North Bend residents, this additional water source would be used to help replenish water into the Snoqualmie River when the river level falls below a certain level.  Although studies are ongoing, the hope is that the acquisition of this water right may  result in cost savings to the City’s water utility customers.”

The CGC well would serve as a secondary mitigation source required in the city’s 2008 water right permit. Currently the city purchases water from Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) Hobo Spring for mitigation during dry months. When the Snoqualmie River reaches lower levels (monitored by three gauges), the city’s water permit requires that it put back into the river – drop-for-drop –  the amount of potable water used from its Centennial Well.

During the August 21st council meeting, City Administrator Londi Lindell said city officials have had multiple meetings with the Department of Ecology in which DOE stated the Cascade Golf Course well could serve as the secondary mitigation source to Hobo Springs – and might even be a better mitigation source than that SPU. Council member Trevor Kostanich added that the sale closing would contain a letter from the Department of Ecology stating that the CGC well could be used for mitigation.

North Bend resident Michael Thomas, who follows water rights carefully, commented that he was concerned the city was moving ahead with the purchase before the commissioned Golder Study – which is re-examining North Bend’s water sources and rights – is completed. He also had concerns whether any well located in close proximity to the Snoqualmie River could be effective as mitigation water, calling it a ‘farce.’

North Bend resident and real estate agent, Elizabeth Davis said during the council meeting, “I’ve known about this property being for sale for a long time. I was a partner with one of the agents that had it listed. They wanted to put a lot of houses on the property and use the water as a well. I really would rather have it be open space.”

In early June ,the council authorized a feasibility study and began negotiations to acquire the 28-acre portion of Cascade Golf Course. Mayor Hearing brought the idea to council after learning the property was being marketed to developers for both a single-family development and a potential RV park with over 300 asphalt spaces.

The city said the adjacent Kusak Tree Farm open space is likely to be developed into a small single-family housing development. Both parcels are located in unincorporated King County on the edge of the city limits and are zoned for low density – R2.5 and R5 –  residential, where homes with lots of 2.5 and 5 acres are allowed.

Potential Si View Park

“The Cascade property has an enormous amount of potential to meet the needs of a very active and growing community for a long time,” Travis Stombaugh, Executive Director of Si View Metro Parks, said.  “The future park is located in an area identified as a local park desert in the District’s Comprehensive Plan and re-programming the property as a public park will greatly improve access to open spaces for residents of the District.”

According to the news release, a recent Si View Park District recent survey showed residents are interested in seeing more trails for connectivity and more preservation of open space.  The potential park may also provide opportunities for a bike and walking trail and riverfront access for rafting and kayaking. Si View said before any decisions are made, public input and comment will be sought.

The CGC purchase transaction is still subject to appraisal and plans for the property need to be finalized. The closing date is November 29th.

Mayor Pro Tem Alan Gothelf commented, “I believe we’ve done our due diligence on the piece of property. We’ve had discussions withe the Department of Ecology… and pursuant to rumors, we have plenty of water in the city.”

 

Cascade Golf Course. PC: CGC website.

   

Comments

  1. Seems inevitable that the City will sooner or later expand the city limits to include this property all the way to the river!

  2. Hugh R. Worsham says

    Will the par 3 golf course be lost forever ? Are there any plans for a par 3 course anywhere to help staring golfers ?

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