City Council votes down property purchase for wastewater treatment facility
April 21, 2022
DAYTON– Plans for the City of Dayton’s Wetlands Complex, part of the City’s wastewater treatment facility, are stalled after the City Council voted 4-3 against entering into a purchase agreement with landowners. The Council took the action at the 6 p.m. meeting April 12.
A special meeting was held on April 6 where discussion was held in executive session for about an hour and a half and the vote on the purchase agreement was tabled pending the approval of a conditional use permit (CUP).
At the regular meeting the following next week, the CUP had been approved, however Council still deliberated for some time in open discussion. Mayor Zac Weatherford provided a brief history of the project including the collaboration of many departments for the necessary assessments of the site with the cooperation of the landowners. The site was chosen, Weatherford said, because it was for sale by only two property owners, was large enough and because of its proximity to the river providing the wetlands needed.
Councilmember Laura Aukerman pointed out that only 20 of the 62 acres in the agreement are wetlands and are in a potentially problematic flood zone. Councilmember Kyle Anderson added the city would be paying two times the market value for the land at $1.1 million.
The mayor acknowledged there is no ideal property, but said if Council didn’t approve the purchase agreement, the property would likely sell. The vote was divided 4-3 against the purchase of the land.
Councilman Dain Nysoe and Misty Yost are the only two members who were on council previous to the last election. They voted in favor of the purchase agreement. Nysoe stressed the efforts of previous councilmembers to get the city to this point in the plan.
Public concerns were addressed that the Department of Ecology could issue fines for not making progress on the plan, but the mayor and Council affirmed that even though they are taking a step back from purchasing the land, the project will continue to move forward and they will consider all viable options.
Other public concerns included questions about the tax dollars spent for the assessments of the property and the loss of $16,000 in earnest money.