Chelan PUD commissioners approved the purchase of 4,910 acres of undeveloped land in the foothills above Malaga Monday for $5,325,000 – about $1,100 per acre – from Ravenwing Ranch, LLC. (audio at 01:02:15 of the board meeting recording)
Chelan PUD is halfway through a 90-day due diligence period to investigate the property. Pending the results, the sale will close 60 days after the due diligence period concludes.
The property is separate from the area involved in a land use dispute between the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Chelan County, and Ravenwing Ranch LLC.
How Chelan PUD will use the land is still under consideration. Chelan PUD is embarking on a strategic planning process that will guide key decisions into the future, with an emphasis on preparing the utility for the next 50 years.
Several commissioners spoke in favor of the purchase, citing the 50-year visioning process and the opportunity to secure the land for potential new sources of energy generation, energy storage and wildlife habitat.
“It positions this utility for the long-term,” said Commissioner Carnan Bergren. “It gives us a tremendous amount of options going forward.”
Commissioner Steve McKenna said he weighed several factors, including the cost of the property, the need for future power, the impact on the environment, and the ability to produce electricity. For him, it came down to securing the land and its opportunities by a utility governed by publicly elected officials.
“Are we setting ourselves up for 40 to 50 years into the future?” McKenna said. “What will it be used for? We don’t know that. Just like our forefathers years and years ago, they took a risk but they took local control. As we talk about large entities coming in, we want to make sure we’re doing the best we can to promote local control.”
In other news, commissioners:
- Reviewed a summary of the Energy Expo survey results. (01:34:10)
- Held a rate hearing for Peshastin Water District customers. (01:59:50)
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