By Douglas Buell / The Arlington Times
ARLINGTON – The Arlington School District is selling a 180-acre property on Highway 530 that at one time had been planned for a future high school, but has since become known more for grazing dairy cows and mineral reserves below ground.
The property is 1.5 miles northeast of city limits, at 9102 Highway 530.
The school board recently passed a resolution surplussing the property, authorizing sale negotiations and determining the fair market value price for potential suitors.
In 1997, the land was purchased by the school district for $3.1 million for a new high school, which was built 10 years later along Highway 9 south of town, closer to where student populations were growing the most.
School board member Jeff Huleatt said when the district originally bought the property there were some surmountable obstacles.
However, he said, “Conditions and regulations have changed, and become much more formidable. It became more challenging to be a school site.”
The biggest strike came when state Growth Management Act revisions resulted in limiting the construction of new school facilities outside urban growth areas. The Highway 530 site is outside of Arlington’s urban growth area, and without available water and service or plans to extend electric or natural gas service, the property’s usefulness to the district dwindled, said Brian Lewis, executive director of operations.
The property, which contains several structures in poor condition, is zoned for one residence per 5 acres.
The district’s Facilities Advisory Committee recommended in 2014 that the district take steps to surplus and sell the site, Lewis said. The 2018 assessed value of the property is $695,700.
In October 2016, district staff entered a process to gather proposals from parties interested in buying the Highway 530 site. District staff, an evaluation committee and real estate consultant Long Bay Enterprises in Edmonds reviewed the requests and evaluated the presence of mineral reserves.
Two respondents were selected to continue the process, but one later withdrew, Lewis said.
Lewis said in order to enter negotiations with the remaining potential buyer, the school board needed to declare the property surplus and authorize an appraisal to establish fair market value.
This story originally appeared in The Arlington Times, a sibling paper of The Daily Herald.