Wastewater and water rights were the talk of a recent North Bend City Council meeting.
At their Sept. 18 meeting, the North Bend City Council approved the reservation of wastewater treatment capacity for commercial and residential development. The council also approved a partnership with Si View Metro Parks to acquire additional water rights.
Public Works Director Mark Rigos introduced an ordinance that would reserve nine percent of wastewater treatment capacity for certain types of land use, primarily commercial. Rigos explained that in the past few months the city has seen more potential residential developments in the pre-application stage, which has drawn concern about residential development becoming more prevelant than commercial development.
While the treatment plant still has at about 50 percent capacity remaining, the city wants to plan for the future to ensure more commercial developments have a place in the city. With residential developments coming in the future, the city wants to maintain its balance of hosuing and businesses. The council also wants to avoid shifting the majority of their tax revenue to residential property taxes.
In the 9 percent of reserved capacity, 6 percent is aimed toward commercial. Of the 9 percent, 2 percent is for the downtown zone, 2 percent would be directed toward development agreement projects the council believes are a public benefit, and 2 percent are for smaller single-family residential projects.
Rigos also said that, of the remaining 91 percent of the wastewater treatment plant’s capacity, safety measures are built in for properties on the east side of city limits that are not connected to the sewer system. If those owners choose to connect to the city’s utilities in the future, there will be capacity for them to do so.
In discussion, council member Chris Garcia made an amendment to convert any capacity for residential projects that fail to complete the permitting or building processes into capacity for commercial development. The amendment includes that for every 3 percent of commercial reserved city-wide, 1 percent would be reserved for just the downtown core. Both the amendment and the motion were approved unanimously in a 7-0 vote.
The council also discussed an inter-local agreement with Si View Metro Parks for the maintenance, ownership and operation of a section of the Cascade Golf Course just outside of city limits which is being jointly purchased by both groups. The purchase would allow the city to obtain the water rights on the property, and the parks district could develop, maintain and operate the park.
The park acquisition will cost $2.8 million, with Si View contributing $1.8 million and receiving 75 percent of property ownership. The purchase will be part of the district’s upcoming $14.7 million capital bond measure to purchase new property for parks and develop a more connected trail system throughout the district.
Part of the agreement also limits the property to open space, recreation and utilities uses only. Nothing else will be permitted.
The council agreed that it was a good way to preemptively acquire additional water rights as well as lock down open space use for the community. The council approved the inter-local agreement unanimously.
The full video archive of the council meeting is available on www.northbendwa.gov