The Enumclaw School Board approved during its Feb. 25 meeting a resolution to proceed with asking the Puget Sound Educational Service District to rule on its proposal to transfer 54 acres of land in Black Diamond out of the Tahoma School District back to Enumclaw as the two districts could not reach an agreement on the issue.
The triangular piece of land is a part of the Lawson Hills master planned development (MPD) - one of two MPDs by YarrowBay that could potentially see more than 6,000 single family and multi-family units built in Black Diamond in the next two decades. Both MPDs also fall entirely within the Enumclaw School District. The 54 acres in question - about 35 of which are developable spread over five parcels - are not actually adjacent to the rest of the Lawson Hills MPD; geographically they are located within the Tahoma School District.
Enumclaw school officials advocated for the transfer not only because of tax benefits for district residents but also because it makes practical sense for the MPDs to fall under one school district. "We will be supporting the kids who live in these developments," said Enumclaw Schools Superintendent Mike Nelson in January. "That money should go to Enumclaw."
The board's action last week came seven weeks after a January 8 public hearing in which the Enumclaw School District solicited and received public input about its proposal. Supporters included residents in Enumclaw while opponents largely represented parents of students in the Tahoma School District.
According to minutes from the Feb. 25 meeting, Nelson said the board waited seven weeks to continue receiving public feedback. He also indicated the board, when it approved its part in a tri-party agreement with the city of Black Diamond and YarrowBay in 2010, was already aware of this section of land outside the district but wanted to wait and see how the appeal process unfolded for YarrowBay.
The land transfer process and the mitigation process completed in 2010 are two separate things since the former occurs between two school districts, he said.
Enumclaw reached out to Tahoma in November 2012 to request the transfer, and Tahoma responded in disagreement to the proposal. (See attached PDF for the text of the resolution along with the correspondence between the two school districts.)
With the resolution approved, the petition was to be submitted to the PSESD Regional Committee. From the regional committee's level, there will be additional opportunities for public input, said PSESD spokesperson Peter Daniels.
According to the operating procedures of the Puget Sound ESD Regional Committee: "All districts affected, committee members, and petitioners will be informed of the date and time of the hearing at least ten (10) days prior to the scheduled hearing."
To view who currently sits on the committee and for more information about procedures, click here.