Buckley renewed a lease with an Auburn farmer to continue to use 133 acres for at least the next five years. Photo by Kevin Hanson.

Buckley to continue leasing farm land

The city of Buckley will continue leasing agricultural land surrounding Rainier School, collecting nearly $140,000 during the next five years.

Members of the Buckley City Council voted April 11 to renew an agreement with Gi Su Pak, giving the Auburn farmer the right to use approximately 133 acres of farm land and associated buildings. The land will continue to be used for growing and storing crops.

The contract approved by the council calls for annual payments of $27,600 for the duration of the five-year lease, with an option for a two-year extension. Buckley will not keep all the money, however; the city share is about $23,200 annually, with state taxes adding nearly $3,000 and a utility charge making up the rest.

The agreement also includes a formula that governs the amount to be paid for water use.

The land in question is held in trust by the state of Washington and the city has long-term rights to the property. In 2009, the city signed a 50-year lease for the land, with an option for a 50-year extension. The city has a long-term idea of developing the land for recreational purposes, City Administrator Dave Schmidt said.

That option has not been totally scrapped, Schmidt said. But, for now, “we’ll keep it in agricultural use if we can.”

As part of its lease, the city also controls land north of Collins Road – home to October’s Fright Factory attraction – and east of Levesque.