Crescent Bar leaseholders will pay $850,000 a year
On-island leaseholders at Crescent Bar will have to pay a total of nearly $850,000 a year to continue to lease property there.
On top of the annual payment, leaseholders are responsible for back rent to June 1, 2012, which amounts to more than $2.5 million. Those payments will be spread out through 2023, said Chuck Allen, PUD spokesman.
On Tuesday, Grant PUD staff presented commissioners with the estimated fair market value of the 38 acres leased on the island. The property is leased by three homeowners associations representing two RV parks and a condo development that have a combined 402 members.
The fair market value was determined by two third-party appraisers who were agreed upon by the utility as well as the homeowners associations, said Shannon Lowry of the utility’s natural resources department.
The two appraisals came in quite different from one another. One was just over $1 million and the other just under $685,000, Lowry said. The $850,000 was the median between the two appraisals.
The new leases, which include water and sewer, are expected to be instituted next year. They do not include improvements; leaseholders will be responsible for any upgrades to the leased properties, Allen said.
Leaseholders also will be responsible for 90 percent of the costs of upgrading the wastewater and water system on the island. Those payments will begin once the construction is completed and will be paid back over a 10-year period, Allen said.
The wastewater and water project has not yet gone out for bid.
The lease terms allow for the lease to be adjusted every year, with a full market value study completed every 10 years, said Jeff Grizzel, natural resources director for the PUD.
The PUD and islanders have a lease that dates back to 1962, when the leaseholders leased 194 acres from the PUD. In 2010, PUD commissioners voted to discontinue residential use of Crescent Bar Island and ordered 402 leaseholders to be evicted by June 2012, the date the leases to the land under their island condos and RV homes expired.
Then, in January 2011, island residents and their associations sued the PUD to remain on the island. Settlement discussions began in December 2014 between representatives of the two sides following the urging of a federal judge in U.S. District Court. A settlement agreement was reached this summer.
Under terms of the settlement, access to 80 percent of the Crescent Bar area previously under lease will be fully available to the public. The residents will be allowed to remain on the island through at least 2047 under the new lease agreement.
In other Crescent Bar news, the development of off-island recreational facilities has been delayed nearly a year until next fall. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which oversees the license to the PUD’s Columbia River dams, has not yet approved the plans for the off-island development. In fact, it is not yet known if FERC will address the plans at its December meeting, Lowry said.
This fall, a $6.7 million contract was awarded to West Company of Spokane, which was to begin the construction project this year.
The off-island development now will take place when the on-island improvements are scheduled to start. The on-island construction is expected to be done in time for the start of the 2018 recreation season, Lowry said.
Designs for the on-island recreation improvements are nearly finished. The design includes expanding the on-island marine slips from 40 to 61. A few of those slips will be available to the general public.
“We probably could use about 150 (slips),” Lowry said.
However, the 21 additional slips was decided upon because a balance must be kept between recreational facilities and the island’s natural environment, she said.
The on-island improvements also include a 55-site campground, trail system and day use area with overflow parking.
— By Jill FitzSimmons, firstname.lastname@example.org