Parts of Snoqualmie Tree Farm for sale
October 2, 2008 · Updated 10:42 AM
SNOQUALMIE VALLEY - Of the 14,000 acres Hancock Timber Resource Group retains development rights for in the Snoqualmie Tree Farm, almost 1,000 acres of it is now available for purchase near Snoqualmie, North Bend and Fall City.
Zoned as RA-5 and RA-10 for residential development - meaning that one home for every five acres and one home for every 10 acres may be built, respectively - about 77 acres near Tokul Creek is for sale with a $1.25-million price tag, while three parcels of land (about 118 acres for $1.69 million; about 157 acres for $2.56 million; and about 117 acres for $1.75 million) along the side of Griffin Creek Road Northeast are also available through Forestland Marketing, according to promotional materials. The land is available as a collective unit totaling about 393 acres of land for $6 million.
Two additional pieces of land at the end of North Fork Road are available through Windermere Real Estate; one 168-acre piece of land is listed for $1.2 million, and the other is a 102-acre piece of land currently available for the listed price of $950,000. An offer has been made and accepted for the 168-acre parcel, but the deal has not yet closed.
There have been no final deals yet, said Hancock's western regional manager John Davis, adding that he couldn't speculate on how the land would be used after being purchased as Hancock is in forest management, not in the land development business.
The privately-owned land was used by Weyerhaeuser for logging for almost 100 years, but when the company closed its Snoqualmie mill in 2003, the land was sold to Hancock.
In September of 2004, King County paid Hancock $22.5 million to secure the development rights for 90,000 acres of the Snoqualmie Tree Farm in the area east of Carnation between Interstate 90 and Highway 2.
Hancock owns and harvests the entire 104,000 acres and it continues to maintain the development rights for 14,000 acres. Davis cited cost as the main reason development rights for all 104,000 acres were not purchased.
Even though King County does not technically own the development rights to the parcels that are for sale, Davis noted that any development plans would still have to be legally processed and approved through the county. All the land is located within the unincorporated area of King County and is not subject to any city's zoning or planning requirements.
"At the end of the day, it's the county that decides what [landowners] can and can't do with their land," he said.
The goal of the development-rights-acquisition deal was to ensure that the land would be free from future possible residential, commercial or industrial development by Hancock or any future landowners.
"Forestry has been important to the community for a long time," said King County Council Chair Larry Phillips. "We need to protect the natural systems in King County. This helps to provide all that."
Hancock received its payment last year, though King County just approved legislation providing short-term financing to complete the purchase of the development rights.
Though the new owner(s) of the land currently for sale would be allowed to develop it in accordance with legal guidelines, Davis said that neither King County nor Hancock have an interest in developing the remaining land at this time.
The long-term plan for much of the Snoqualmie Tree Farm - which is currently managed and zoned as forest land - is to continue to use it as forest land for harvesting timber for wood and paper products, Davis said.
For information on the available land, visit: www.windermere.com or www.flmus.com.