BELLINGHAM - Efforts to help pay for the city of Bellingham's purchase of Chuckanut Ridge and protect its 82 acres from future development moved ahead Monday, Dec. 16.
The City Council and the board of the Chuckanut Community Forest District unanimously approved a conservation easement and agreement between them that will form the backbone of longstanding efforts to protect what also has been referred to over the years as the Hundred Acre Wood, Fairhaven Highlands, and Chuckanut Community Forest.
The two organizations agreed that the city of Bellingham would sell the conservation easement to the forest district, which in turn would repay a $3.2 million loan, plus interest, from the city Greenways endowment fund. That money helped pay the $8.2 million price tag for the city's purchase of the 82-acre property.
In February 2013, voters in southwest Bellingham created the district and elected five commissioners to raise property taxes within the district to repay the $3.2 million loan and interest.
The new levy begins in 2014.
The conservation easement lays out, in part, that the property will be used for nature-oriented, recreational or educational purposes.
The two sides also agreed that the city will keep control and ownership of the property, and commissioners will dissolve the park district once the loan has been repaid.
The year that voters approved the forest district was corrected Dec. 18, 2013.
Reach Kie Relyea at 360-715-2234 or firstname.lastname@example.org.