Water House

In an attempt to distract you from the culture of bullying and the financial mismanagement issues present with the Board of Eastsound Water Users Association, the Board issued a press release under the byline of Toby Cooper of the Sounder.   See this post regarding the Sounder’s distortions.

This is a link to the actual proposal made by Steve Smith to the EWUA board in the summer of 2022:  Water House Proposal

Several things to note:

  1. The parcel with the housing units was purchased by using EWUA money from two land transactions, so no water rate money was used to purchase the parcel for EWUA employee housing (marked in red). Details of those transactions available upon request.
  2. No Member money was spent to acquire the option on the property marked in blue.
  3. The proposal was for employee-only housing.
  4. The proposal called for no EWUA money to be used.
  5. The proposal did call for EWUA to transfer 0.6 acres under the red parcel houses to Water House and to transfer the option to purchase the 1 acre marked in blue to Water House. Water House would have been responsible for coming up with the money to exercise the option. In exchange for the transfer of 0.6 acres and the option to purchase, Water House would have built the proposed housing and transferred ownership of three of those new apartments to EWUA. Estimated value: $900,000.
  6. Total estimated cost of the project would have been about $10 million, none of it to be paid for by EWUA.
  7. The project was to be managed by Water House, a separate entity from EWUA.

The EWUA Board declined to support this project and the option to purchase the parcel marked in blue was not exercised. No money was spent.

Since the proposal was made, the County did increase the density allowance for this intersection.

Steve Smith believes that the island needs affordable housing for those who live and work on the island. Smith does not believe that EWUA should be the developer but did suggest that 0.6 acres of  land owned by EWUA be contributed to Water House in exchange for the contractual promise of three new apartments for employees, which is an estimated value of $900,000 to EWUA. The housing that sits on the land would have continued to be owned by EWUA and would have had a lease similar to what OPAL has, where the land is owned by one entity and the house on the land is owned by another. This would have allowed 21 apartments to be built rather than 13. Without the higher density, Smith did not think that the economics worked.

Rick Christmas still owns the two acres on the corner of North Beach and Mt Baker Road. The allowed density is 12 units per acre.  Christmas has short platted the two acres into four parcels of about a half acre each. The one acre that EWUA had an option for is currently offered for $725,000.