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Council moving toward surplusing utility property

The City Council concluded that some portion of the city-owned vacant lot on First Hill should be sold to fund the emergency water well at Rotary Park, last Monday. The Council also agreed that rezoning the property to construct a demonstrative multifamily affordable housing project is no longer an option.

However, the Council directed city staff to contrive possible covenants or restrictions for the property to limit future house sizes or encourage sustainable building practices, and determine what effect such restrictions might have on the property value.

There were 16 public comments made by First Hill residents during the meeting on Monday. Most comments suggested that the Council find a way to keep a portion of the property as a park or open space and supported the restrictions on size or sustainable building.

The Council will continue deliberating the future of the property at a later meeting. The .7-acre property was acquired by the city decades ago as a potential site for storing water. Last August, the city’s Utility Board recommended that the Council declare the property a surplus and sell it. The Council later tabled the issue until the neighborhood could be further consulted about uses for that property. Earlier this year, the city identified six potential options for the property. The lot is located on the northeast corner of 74th Avenue S.E. and 32nd Street.

More information about the First Hill property is available at www.mercergov.org/firsthillproperty.

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