Burlington Northern Sells Land To County For Centennial Trail
Snohomish County's efforts to build a 17-mile trail got a boost
after Burlington Northern agreed to sell 153 acres of abandoned right of way to the county.
County officials yesterday announced the $382,000 purchase for the Centennial Trail, a proposed path for pedestrians, bicycles and horses.
``This is the critical first step in purchasing and developing an entire trail system,'' County Executive Willis Tucker said in a written release. ``This will be the center link in the 43-mile trail from Skagit to King County, and our ultimate goal is to connect Canada to Oregon.''
Burlington Northern owned 153 of the 252 acres needed to build the trail. Although most of the rest of the land needed is in single ownership and many of those owners back the trail, a proposal to build a single-family home could put a hurdle in the center of the trail plans.
Bill and Patrick Retallick own 28 acres about in the center of the trail route, north of Lake Stevens. Patrick Retallick has applied for a permit to build a home there.
If that home is built, it would limit options for the trail because wetlands are on either side; that makes bypassing the home difficult, if not impossible.
In a letter, Retallick suggested the county either buy the entire parcel for $300,000 or purchase an easement for $150,000.
County officials said they believe the prices are high, but will complete land appraisals and then begin negotiations for acquisition.
Retallick has not received either a grading or building permit but as soon as he submits additional information required, one will be issued, according to building officials. That is at least two weeks away, however, said Craig Ladiser, of the community development department.
County officials envision few other acquisition problems along the path of the first trail in Snohomish County.
The state has provided $1 million - an amount matched by the county - for purchase and development of the trail. It was dubbed the Centennial Trail because the railroad tracks that the trail route will follow were laid 100 years ago.
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