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Shelton Mason County Journal
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June 19, 2014     Shelton Mason County Journal
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June 19, 2014

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i .... !1 ....... Jl[ , iiL E __ L Page A-2 - Mason County Journal - Thursday, June 19, 2014 Lake Nahwatzel manageme:n00: district moves forward By NATALIE JOHNSON natalie@masoncoun corn Proponents of creat- ing a lake management district for Lake Nahwat- zel met with the Mason County Board of Com- missioners Monday to discuss their next steps. "Lake Nahwatzel is a community," said Bob Dick, president of the Friends of Lake Nahwat- zel. "It's not a wealthy community, but it's a pretty active community and we value the lake." Senate Bill 6031, which was signed by Gov. Jay Inslee on March 27 and became effective on June 12, allows lake management districts in Mason County to buy property or conservation easements. "The rest of the state is looking at this," said Patti Case, public affairs manager for the north- west timberlands divi- sion of Green Diamond Resource Co. Dick and other resi- dents hope the district, once created, can buy $750,000 in conservation easements on 240 acres of residentially zoned Green Diamond timberland on the lake's north shore, limiting potential devel- opment to four homes. In 2012, the Friends of Lake Nahwatzel, a group of area residents, formed to challenge a Green Diamond proposal for the county to redesig- nate more than 240 acres at the north shore of the OREST A Re utation Built on Service WATCH YOUR MAILFoR IMPORTANT NEWS ABOUT OUR$555 COMPLETE CREMATION, AND $1 795 COMPLETE BURIAL SERVICE. CALL ! Journal file photo The Friends of Lake Nahwatzel, Green Diamond Resource Co. and Forterra are working with Mason County to create a lake management district to buy a conservation easement on the north shore of Lake Nahwatzel. lake from long-term com- mercial forest to Rural Residential 5, which al- lows one house per 5 acres. Green Diamond ex- pressed interest at the time in selling the proper- ty to a housing developer, who could place as many as 50 homes in a subdivi- sion on the property. Lake residents were concerned that a subdi- vision on the property could damage the lake's water quality and cause increased boat traffic on the lake. The Mason County Commission approved the redesignation in 2013. Representatives from the Friends of Lake Nah- watzel, Green : Diamond and land conservancy organization Forterra worked with legisla- tors, including sponsor Sen. Tim Sheldon (D- Potlatch), to pass the bill during the 2014 legisla- tive session. "Now we're in the im- plementation phase," said Sheldon, also a Mason County commissioner. Mason County has two existing lake manage- ment districts at Island Lake and Mason Lake. According to RCW 36.61, a county commis- sion can either create the lake management district through a resolution or require the landowners of 20 percent of the proposed district to sign a petition to create the district. The Mason County commission directed the Friends of Lake Nah- watzel, Green Diamond and Forterra to work with county staff to de- velop boundaries for the district before drafting a petition. Once created, the lake management district would be managed by the county commission. It would likely use a rev- enue bond to buy the con- servation easement, and levy a tax on properties within the district to pay off the bond over time. Dick said residents want to protect the lake. "We want to pay for that protection," he said. When a group buys conservation easements, they buy the right to de- velop that land. Once the conservation easement is in place, the land can be logged, but not developed. The agreement dis- cussed by the Friends of Lake Nahwatzel and Green Diamond would still allow for the develop- ment of four homes, rath- er than the 50 originally proposed. The easement agree- ment could determine where the four homes could be built. The conservation ease- ment will stay with the property in perpetuity, even if it is sold. Accord- ing to an agreement be- tween the parties, four lots on the property will still be developable.