Port of South Whidbey rejects land purchase offer

Port of South Whidbey commissioners have rejected a $100,000 purchase offer from neighbors for the port's Dorothy Cleveland Park Trail property.

Clyde Monma, a neighbor to the park who has opposed plans to put a cell tower on the property, told the Record this week that he was disappointed by the port's reaction to the "serious and fair offer."

"They are determined to commercialize and sell their assets in order to pay for other projects, including the Langley Marina," Monma said, adding that he would continue to fight any proposal for a cell tower on the property.

Monma also said the port's insistence on a minimum sale price of $200,000 for the land would "made it impossible for any entity to preserve the Dorothy Cleveland Trail Park."

The port listed the 14-acre property for sale earlier this year, with an asking price of $235,000. Port officials also rejected an earlier $240,000 offer from someone who wanted to build a home on the property, because the buyer would not agree to preserve public access to the trail.

Commissioners rejected Monma's purchase offer after a closed-door executive session late Tuesday.

Port Commissioner Geoff Tapert said the port wants to make sure it gets full value for the property if it is sold.

"It was essentially too low," Tapert said of the Monma offer.

There was also no guarantee that the property wouldn't be resold after the real estate market rebounds, Tapert said.

"It would have been, in my opinion, irresponsible to take that offer," he said.

The property is no longer listed for sale.

Tapert said the proponents of a cell tower on the property have started to work on archeological and other studies that would be necessary before a cel tower could be permitted at the location.

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