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UPDATE | Offer made on South Whidbey port’s park land

An offer has been made to purchase the property containing part of the Dorothy Cleveland Trail, the Port of South Whidbey announced Monday.

Port commissioners will host a special meeting at 2:30 p.m. today at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Clinton to talk about the offer.

The sale of the land has been highly controversial, with neighbors and others opposed to the sale of the public property that includes the popular trail that stretches from Possession Beach to the ridge more than 400 feet above Puget Sound.

Port officials listed the 14-acre property for sale earlier this month, with a suggested price of $235,000.

According to the agenda for the meeting, port commissioners will accept, reject or counter the offer. Discussion of the offer is expected to take place in an executive session closed to the public.

Port officials earlier declared the property as “surplus,” and said maintaining ownership of the upland park runs counter to the port’s mission of economic development.

South End residents have opposed the sale, however, and also the potential for a cell tower to be raised on the ridge property, which they say would be an eyesore. Others have highlighted the value of the park property as prime wildlife habitat that shouldn’t be disturbed by commercial development.

Port Commissioner Geoff Tapert said he did not have any details on the offer.

“From what I’ve heard, it’s more than full price. It sounds like a legitimate offer from a private party. 

“But that’s hearsay,” he added quite quickly. “I haven’t discussed this with staff.”

Dane Anderson, finance manager for the port, said if additional offers are received before the meeting, those will also likely be reviewed during the board’s executive session.

Clyde Monma, a Possession Shores resident who has been critical of the port’s handling of the park property, said Monday he was surprised an offer had been made so soon.

“Public sentiment is growing stronger and stronger against the sale, and the port seems to be purposely speeding up the process before the public has had its say,” Monma said.

“I strongly condemn the port for its hasty and reckless actions in this regard,” he added. 

“Unless the buyer agrees to protect the park in its entirety, we will marshal a vigorous protest to block the sale, and we will continue to fight any and all efforts for the commercial development of the property,” Monma said.

 

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