Yelm to pay $151,000 for pair of water rights

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City of Yelm came to a settle agreement Tuesday to purchase water rights from the golf course.

Action was taken after a 10-minute executive session to discuss potential litigation.

Yelm Mayor Ron Harding said the agreement was part of an ongoing issue and that the city has utilized the water rights for years.

In 2006 owners of the golf course, Tahoma Valley Golf and Country Club LLC., deeded three water rights over to the city.

Two of the rights were transferred to the city by state government.

When the owners defaulted on their loan, the golf course was foreclosed on by Brookdale Golf LLC.

Brookdale filed suit in Thurston County Superior Court in March 2011 seeking possession of all three rights, including the transferred ones, Harding said.

“We’d been utilizing it for a number of years,” he said. “They were due to be compensated.”

Per the agreement, Yelm will pay roughly $151,000 for the rights, which equal 77-acre feet of water necessary to support the city’s water utility and system plan.

That payment also includes attorney’s fees and past water payments.

The city also releases all right, title and interest in water rights currently being used by the golf course for irrigation purposes.

Brookdale releases all right, title and interest on the two water rights and the city must seek the state remove certain restrictions on the golf course irrigation.

The purchase was in line with current market rates and avoids no further need for litigation on these rights, Harding said.

The agreement was approved with five votes in favor.

Councilman Tracey Wood was absent and councilman Mike McGowan voted against the motion.

“I have no problem with the actual settlement,” McGowan said. “I think the public should have the opportunity to comment.”

“I don’t think they were properly notified.”

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