Deal ensures land near Meadowdale Beach Park won’t be developed

LYNNWOOD — For the past decade, the future of 13 acres of wooded, steep hillside overlooking Meadowdale Beach Park has been debated.

Now that battle has come to an end. The city of Lynnwood has reached an agreement to buy the property from developers for $6 million, Jared Bond, the city’s environmental and surface water supervisor, said Tuesday.

“I’m ecstatic,” he said. “I know the neighbors are, too. It’s the culmination of so many people’s efforts. I think it’s safe to say the city is really creating a legacy out there.”

Everett-based West View Properties had proposed a development called Seabrook Heights, planning 70 homes on about 9.6 acres of the land, Bond said.  “It was a very high intensity development being proposed,” he said.

Hundreds of large second-growth trees would have been removed from the hillside to make way for the homes.

Neighbors, joined by the city, said they were concerned that the development would add to water runoff flowing down the hillside and toward the county park, increasing the risk of landslides.

Barb Ingram, a member of the neighborhood group opposed to the development, said she’s been photographing Meadowdale Beach Park and the landslides that have occurred in the area since 1997. “The city of Lynnwood has realized the importance of protecting the park and protecting the land,” she said. “We’re so grateful for that.”

David Beck, president of Everett-based West View Properties, could not be reached for comment.

Bond said the city was negotiating with the company until about 10 a.m. Monday hammering out the agreement. The City Council gave its approval Monday evening. West View has signed the agreement, he said.

Snohomish County awarded Lynnwood a $5 million conservation futures grant in 2013 to buy the Seabrook property. The city added $1 million of its own to come up with the $6 million purchase price.

“It’s an absolutely beautiful piece of property; now it’s protected forever,” said Lynn Sordel, the city’s director of parks, recreation and cultural arts.

This is the third land purchase the city has made in the Lund’s Gulch area since 1998, with the city-owned land now totaling 91 acres, he said.

The purchase also will help protect the cutthroat trout, coho and chum salmon that live in nearby Lund’s Gulch Creek, Bond said. “How many viewing opportunities do you have to see salmon returning, especially in an urban area like this?” he asked.

“When you reach a huge milestone like this, it just feels good,” Bond said. “It’s hard not to be a little emotional about it.”

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486; salyer@heraldnet.com.

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