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Sale of Summit Pit clears way for open space, trails, housing and new roads facility

Summary

Council approves sale of Maple Valley “Donut Hole” for $51 million

Story

A livable and walkable community will replace an aging King County roads facility and gravel pit, under an agreement approved today by the Metropolitan King County Council to sell the Summit Pit property, an island of unincorporated King County surrounded by the city of Maple Valley.

The Council authorized the sale of the so-called “Donut Hole” to a firm known as Summit Place 156 for $51 million, with the developer purchasing the property in segments over the next six years. The sale follows two years of intense negotiations between the County, City and developer, and opens the door to transformation of an industrial gravel pit in the heart of a growing city into a neighborhood of the future.

"With the sale of the ‘Donut Hole’ behind us, we can now focus on the most important details of how this development will come together through joint planning,” said Councilmember Reagan Dunn, whose district includes Maple Valley and the Summit Pit property. “My amendment to the agreement today ensures that the developer has the option of preserving conservation lands around the city of Maple Valley. It is important to the citizens of my community that they receive a benefit from the impacts of this development."

“I appreciate the King County Council’s willingness to keep the interest of the citizens of Maple Valley in mind as we all work toward joint planning of the ‘Donut Hole,’” said Maple Valley Mayor Laure Iddings. “The amendment to the purchase and sale agreement offered by Councilmember Dunn will increase the chances that Summit Place will choose to conserve land close to Maple Valley, thereby benefiting the residents of Maple Valley.”

While negotiations continue on the density, zoning and final amenities to be included in the 156-acre site, the vision for its use includes parks, open space, trails and a walkable community that enhances people’s health and quality of life.

When the County first purchased Summit Pit in 1953, Maple Valley was a rural community of 1,000. In the 56 years since then a city of more than 20,000 has grown up around the site, the use of which also grew over the years into what is now a regional roads maintenance shop, gravel mine, and a road waste processing and recycling facility with the capacity to provide road services by contract for the cities of Maple Valley, Covington and others. Proceeds from the sale will enable the County’s Road Services Division to build a new state-of-the-art County roads maintenance facility, consolidate functions at an underused county property east of Ravensdale, and fund various roads projects.

As part of the agreement the developer will also purchase 200 Transferred Development Rights (TDRs) which are used to conserve key wildlife and salmon habitat recovery lands. Under an amendment sponsored by Councilmember Dunn, the developer will purchase those development rights from King County’s TDR bank or from owners of rural properties located within five miles of the Maple Valley city limits.

“We have worked hard to make this a win for all the parties at the table,” said Councilmember Jane Hague. “I am now satisfied that local concerns have been met while addressing our regional housing needs.”

“This is a purchase that not only benefits the county’s financing of our new facility, it’s a benefit in our efforts to keep sprawl in check,” said Councilmember Larry Gossett, past chair of the Council’s Growth Management Committee and chair of its 2009 Budget Committee. “Summit Place’s purchase of TDRs and easements means that growth will continue in communities that have the infrastructure to support it.”

“By including TDRs and conservation easements in the final deal, we can increase the supply of housing in the most appropriate locations throughout King County,” said Council Chair Dow Constantine. “This transaction also improves the ability of the Road Services Division to keep South County roadways in good repair.”

The city of Maple Valley has joined King County and the buyer in the planning of the property’s development. The property is expected to be annexed by Maple Valley by the end of 2009. Annexation would result in Maple Valley receiving taxes and fees associated with the development that could raise as much as $20 million.

“Development in the ‘Donut Hole’ must meet the critical needs of the city of Maple Valley and the surrounding residents,” said Councilmember Larry Phillips. “This agreement gives Maple Valley a seat at the table and an active voice in not only the planning process, but the outcome. It will also provide a well-planned new community, preserve rural lands in King County, and improve the County’s roads maintenance operations.”

“We’ve worked with the city to ensure this development delivers a lifestyle that enhances people’s health and well-being, as well as badly needed housing that is affordable to working folks such as teachers, police officers and store clerks,” said King County Executive Ron Sims, whose staff led the initial negotiations. “We have an opportunity and a developer who is willing to build more than houses. It will be a desirable community that supports a high quality of life.”


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