Previously stalled talks between the district and the county were restarted after a state law was changed to allow the city to annex the property into the city of Maple Valley in 2013. An agreement was reached later that year after the state legislature kicked in $4 million for the purchase. Additionally, the district began moving forward with design plans for the new high school after voters approved a construction bond in November that will provide funding for the new school as well as a myriad of other projects throughout the district.
“All the negotiations are wrapped up with the county and the county council needs to approve it,” district spokesman Kevin Patterson said. “I keep hearing it isn’t going to happen until the fall.”
This spring the school district approved plans for the school that finalized the layout of the facilities and placement on the property. Currently the district is in the phase of having the details — things like construction materials — planned with an eye towards a ground breaking and beginning to move dirt sometime next spring.
The 35 acre parcel is located in what is known to residents at the Donut Hole, which is 156 acres of unincorporated land within the urban growth boundary off Kent-Kangley Road Southeast and Southeast 228th Street. It is home to nine holes of Elk Run Golf Course, a stand of trees and the county’s 13-acre roads maintenance facility. The county is buying out Elk Run’s lease on the property, to be vacated by the end of the year, and will also be closing the maintenance facility in stages.
The Donut Hole property, which is officially known as Summit Place, was annexed into the city at the end of 2013, according to Maple Valley City Manager David Johnston. There was some confusion over the date of the annexation when it came up earlier this year that the county’s Boundary Review Board had not yet had the opportunity to review the annexation.
“There was an administrative part of state law that was part of the annexation,” Johnston said. “But it was more of an administrative thing by the Boundary Review Board.”
Johnston said that, “They didn’t have a problem with it,” and that both the city’s and the county’s attorneys have said the process is complete.
The city has been working on its end to make sure that the pieces are coming together for future development.
Earlier this year the City Council passed an ordinance that will make it easier for the county to create the lot that it will sell to the school district.
“They are finalizing that process now so they can create that lot description and carve it out of the whole 156 acres,” Johnston said. “So hopefully in the next couple of months you should see that sale take place.”
Additionally, the city needs to update uses of the property in its comprehensive plan update it is undergoing this year and then change the zoning for the property.
“That property is now going through two different comp plan processes,” Johnston said. “Right now any property in the Donut Hole does not allow educational facilities to be built on it and we are using this year’s comp plan update to change that.”
The second part of the comprehensive plan update, Johnston explained, will focus on the remaining acreage.
“That’s being incorporated into our vision process,” Johnston said. “Sometime in the second quarter next year, we know by June, it will be done — that the city will have acted on a comp plan and zoning changes for a comp plan update.”
He added that the city has invited the county to weigh in on the comprehensive plan update process.
“They (the county) have voiced — and we are very pleased to hear this — that they want the property to be used for what’s best for the city of Maple Valley,” Johnston said.
At the county level, the sale is slowly working it’s way through the bureaucratic process.
Cameron Satterfield, the communications manager for the county’s department of executive services, spoke on behalf of the facilities management division, which oversees all of the county’s real estate assets. He said on Tuesday that the packet of information related to the sale started with the facilities management division and is currently with county Executive Dow Constantine’s office.
“It is with the executive’s office right now for their review,” Satterfield said. “It will probably go the (county) council the end of this month or next month.”
Once the information reaches the County Council it will be reviewed by a committee to be approved and then sent back to the full county council for approval, at which point it would become an ordinance and the sale would be finalized.
“The closing on the deal would be no later than the end of the year,” Satterfield said.
He added that it’s difficult to say when the closing date will be.
“It really depends on the property, where it’s located, who it’s begin sold to,” Satterfield said. “There are so many variables that I couldn’t give you an exact timeline. This one has been in the works for a little while.”