Tracyton land sold for $1.4 million

The Bremerton City Council in a 8-1 vote Wednesday approved the sale of the Tracyton Watershed property for $1.4 million.

The Council also approved a policy which allows members to cast their vote by telephone in emergency situations.

Bealko Inc. of Federal Way purchased the 39 acre plot and plans to construct about 100 homes on the property, about 23 acres of which is considered critical areas.

The company originally submitted a bid of $2.9 million in April, but revised its plans to preserve more of the open spaces and build fewer homes.

A handful of neighbors voiced their opposition to the sale at a public hearing preceding the vote.

“Once it’s gone, it’s gone,” said William Radford, who owns a gravel road that runs along the property.

“Bealko would have to offer me $2 billion for that,” he said.

Councilor Cecil McConnell voted against the sale because of the wording of the contract. Under the contract, the actual sale price is based on building 100 houses. If Bealko can build more, then the sale price goes up, if less the price goes down.

The purchase would also return all of the land to the tax rolls generating an estimated $500,000 annually to the city.

The watershed property is part of a settlement with the defunct Tracyton Water District to upgrade the area’s sewer system. In addition to the land, the water district residents are repaying a 20-year loan the city used to finance the upgrades.

The Council was more divided when it came to deciding to allow members to cast their vote by telephone. Under the policy, members would be allowed in cases of emergency on matters where all members votes are needed.

“I really don’t see any need for this,” said Councilor Carol Arends, who along with brad Gehring voted against the measure.

Others supported the idea for the just in case factor.

“The potential for abuse of this is really virtually non-existent,” said Mike Shepherd, councilman.

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