School district surveys Winterbrook Farm property
May 26, 2009
By Chantelle Lusebrink
Issaquah School District officials have hired a surveying company to evaluate the boundaries of its Winterbrook Farm property so they can install a fence.District officials purchased the 80-acre parcel of land, at 21207 S.E. May Valley Road, in June 2006 for $3.3 million to save as a site for a future middle and elementary school. The property is located in the south end of the district.
Several neighbors, like Richard Petrut, who own property in the neighboring community of Sunset Farms, noticed the survey team and had concerns district officials were planning to develop the property or were getting ready to sell it.
But that is not the case, said Sara Niegowski, district communications director.
The fencing materials came with the purchase of the property and was always a project district officials planned to finish as it was started as part of the farm management plan for the property, she wrote in an e-mail.
Right now, the property is fenced with temporary barbed wire in most areas.
By replacing the wire fence with a solid fence, district officials said they hope to keep the property, which still has horses on it, safe and secure. It will also keep out trespassers, who have used the property for dirt biking in the past.
Labor to install the fence will cost about $20,000. The money came from the district’s capital fund, which doesn’t pay for operational costs like teachers’ salaries and student textbooks.
The new survey cost $3,000, which also came from the capital fund.
The fencing project is not one that requires notice of the work or a public hearing.
However, Petrut said he keeps asking questions because district officials haven’t communicated adequately with his neighborhood since before they purchased the property.
“I understand what the district is doing, but I question why now and who is going to take care of it?” he said. “Of course, they’ll come take care of damage to it, but who is going to do the upkeep, since they haven’t done a very good job so far?”
The front of the property, adjacent to May Valley Road, is already fenced with the same material, but it has a lot of green slime on it, Petrut said. Now that the same type of fence is going in adjacent to his and his neighbors’ property, he questions whether district officials will do better upkeep.
Petrut also said the survey markers aren’t just on the boundary line, but they are also in the center of the property.
“Under the guise of a boundary survey, maybe they surveyed the site to lay it out for buildings,” Petrut said. “Because that property is earmarked for growth and a school, the homeowners should be communicated with, so that we aren’t surprised to see foundations or buildings going up.
“We have a right to ask questions,” he added.
When district officials bought the property, their growth projections indicated that the south end of the district would eventually have resurgence in population, as the city of Renton annexed parts of unincorporated King County.
The district plans to hold onto the property until additional population growth requires new buildings, Niegowski said.
Reach Reporter Chantelle Lusebrink at 392-6434, ext. 241, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment on this story at www.issaquahpress.com.