News

Enumclaw schools reach agreement with YarrowBay

By Brenda Sexton

The Courier-Herald

In what school district officials are calling “an unheard of agreement,” the Enumclaw School District and YarrowBay development team have come to an agreement that will provide the district with the acreage it will need to provide for the school children brought in from a massive planned development.

Details of the plan were unveiled Monday night in a joint meeting with the city of Black Diamond and YarrowBay at Black Diamond Elementary School. That information came too late for publication here, but will be available at The Courier-Herald Web site, www.courierherald.com.

“We got in there right away to be proactive,” Enumclaw School District Superintendent Mike Nelson said Friday of the nearly two years the two parties have been working on the agreement.

YarrowBay announced plans for two large master plan developments years ago. Lawson Hills and The Villages are expected to bring 4,530 single-family units and 1,520 multi-family units to Black Diamond.

Nelson and other school leaders looked immediately at similar developments in Snoqualmie, Bonney Lake and Dupont and decided to get in on the ground floor to work with developers to make sure there was a place for schools to meet the expected growth of the district. And those sites were reasonably located and allowed for growth across the entire school system for the life of the development.

Nelson said they were looking at longterm infrastructure, sustainability, security, walkable school locations and flexibility for the future.

The master plan development will have built in to it seven school sites – four elementary, two middle school and a large 41-acre high school site with city park land for recreational facilities.

Complete details of the agreement were not available, however, with the exception of providing mitigation fee credits or reimbursing mitigation fees paid by YarrowBay, the district will never pay for the cost of a school site.

School leaders would still need a voter-approved bond to build schools at those locations.

The Enumclaw School District will host a series of community meetings on the proposal, the first scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Nov. 5 at Black Diamond Elementary School.

The next will be at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 12 in the Enumclaw High School library.

The Black Diamond City Council is scheduled to have the information on its Nov. 19 agenda. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at City Hall.

The Enumclaw School Board is expected to approve the agreement at its December regular meeting.

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