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Port OKs west side tax roll

by CHARLES H. FEATHERSTONE
Staff Writer | August 24, 2021 1:00 AM

MOSES LAKE — The commission overseeing the Port of Moses Lake on Monday denied an appeal by a small group of landowners and unanimously approved the property tax rolls for the port’s Westside Employment Center.

The special assessment levied on seven landowners who own about 700 acres in the 2,300-acre Local Improvement District (LID) will help the port pay for a portion of the $5.5 million cost of building Road G Northeast — which connects state Route 17 with Road 10 Northeast — as well as power, water and sewer hookups to future tenants.

According to port commissioner David “Kent” Jones, three landowners questioned the process under which their land was assessed, but did not provide any alternatives to the port’s valuations of their land.

“They just gave objections, and no solutions,” Jones said.

Bob Fancher, whose company Central Terminals owns about 160 acres along Road G Northeast, said he expected the commissioners to vote the way they did.

“Nothing really happened that surprised us,” he said.

Fancher said he objected to the port’s valuation of his property — which is based on the “highest and best use” given the improvements the port constructed — because his land lies outside the Urban Growth Area (UGA), and cannot be zoned for industrial use.

“We are exploring ways to protest it more, but we’ve made no decisions yet,” he told the Columbia Basin Herald after the meeting.

The Westside Employment Center was established last year and currently has one tenant, Seattle-based Stoke Space Technologies, which is building a facility to test reusable rocket engines.