The Chelan City Council voted 4-2 Tuesday to move forward with the purchase of 9.8 acres of lakefront property on Spader Bay, just north of town.
The city will offer $400,000 for the undeveloped land, currently owned by former state Sen. Linda Evans Parlette and her sister, Terrie O’Neal.
The property has been for sale for some time and is currently listed at almost $2 million.
Councilman Ty Witt said if the city is able to get it for $400,000 it would be a huge donation to the community.
Witt said even if the city eventually finds it has no use for the property it would still be a good investment.
City has 120 days to complete studies of the property
The city has identified opportunities to preserve open spaces and shoreline access on Lake Chelan as a priority.
The Spader Bay property has been the immediate focus.
Access currently would be limited to walking or by water, with the city hoping to make it part of a trail system from Don Morse Park.
There will be more studies and public outreach about the purchase before it became final.
If a sale agreement is reached, the city would then have 120 days to complete its studies.
Public testimony Tuesday was mostly in opposition to the purchase, citing the additional money the city would need to spend to develop road access, restroom facilities and more.
Voting in favor of the purchase were council members Witt, Wendy Isenhart, Kelly Allen and Servando Robledo. Voting against were Erin McCardle and Ray Dobbs.
Dobbs said there are groups in the area that specialize in land preservation.
“I don’t know that I’m comfortable that that’s the city’s job to do,” Dobbs said.
The city would take on debt to complete the purchase, then pay off the debt with real estate excise tax funds.
The proposed purchase takes a very conservative approach in projecting revenue from those funds. It would take a huge fall in property values for that finance plan to fall short of the revenue needed.