A Move to Slow Growth: city buys property next to EJ Roberts Park

The City of North Bend reported this week that unique private-public partnership has resulted in the preservation of a rural parcel of land for the North Bend community.

North Bend City Council members voted during the August 1st meeting to authorize Mayor Ken Hearing to take necessary action to purchase land adjacent to EJ Roberts Park. According to a city press release, the plan is to preserve the property as either park land or retain its current state with only one single-family home.

The property at 709 NE 6th Street was originally listed for $1.2 million. Developers had entered into purchase and sale agreements to buy it with plans of subdividing the parcel into 12 to 15 lots and building new homes, but due to the extensive cost to bring sewer lines down 6th Street, the developers backed out.

Council member Brenden Elwood explained with the city focusing on fixing roads and improving downtown, there weren’t funds to purchase the property at that time. Community members had even jumped in trying to help. A possible partnership with Si View was explored as the community attempted to raise $100,000 to purchase the property with the hope of expanding the park. That also didn’t pan because of financial uncertainly about Si View’s funding sources due to possible suppression from upcoming King County levies.

The city then held an emergency public hearing to discuss the topic. In the end the city was able to work out a deal to purchase part of the property for approximately $123,000.  According to North Bend Communications Coordinator Jill Green, the property owner also got some tax breaks by selling to the city.

How the deal works: the City of North Bend is partnering with a private buyer. According to the purchase and sale agreement, the City will purchase the entire property for about $650,000 and then sell the half with the home to the private buyer who has agreed to a restrictive covenant preventing any future subdivision of the land. The city will also agree to a covenant that it will not add ball field lights to its part of the property. After closing there will be a boundary line adjustment, dividing the property into two parcels.

Per the press release, “The city’s half of the property will “either be joined with the existing EJ Roberts Park or adjacent lots.”  As city funds become available, the land will be improved with additional walking trails.

So there you have…. one property that could have had up to 15 homes on it in the future is now protected from any subdivision, preventing the growth that many North Bend residents oppose – AND EJ Roberts Park might potentially grow by a couple of acres.

Anderson property (in yellow) to be purchased by the City of North Bend in a public-private partnership.

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