The North Bend Eagle


Restriction holding up land transfer

by Nathan Arneal
Published 6/25/14

The lots east of the new North Bend Library building are currently empty, but their future use was a topic of debate at the June 17 City Council meeting.

To maintain control over the property east of the library, the North Bend Library Foundation purchased the empty lots this spring. The foundation is now ready to give the land — and maintenance that goes along with it — to the city,­­­ as it did the library building after its construction. However, the Foundation has one stipulation:

“Our recommendation is that we would like to have that property remain as part of the city,” foundation member Dan Watts told the council. “We wouldn’t want you to sell it for residential or commercial reasons. We’d want you to keep it. If you want to build a new auditorium or a community center or scout cabin or any thing like that, fine. We wouldn’t want to see it sold so somebody could build a house there or put up a shop.”

Pat Beebe, another Library Foundation member, said the library was built very close to the east lot line, and the Foundation was concerned about someone building a house very close to the library building. She also said the library could make good use of the empty lots, perhaps for parking or a future library addition.

“If we gift (the land) to the city,” Beebe said, “we don’t want the city to sell it.”

Mayor Jeff Kluthe and the council were hesitant to take the land with restrictions on it. Councilman Kevin Ferguson said he was against the idea.

“Fifteen, 20, 30 years down the road, I hate to tie the hands of future Councils,” Ferguson said. “I’ve never been a fan of that. Circumstances might change to where you need to do something different.”

Watts said the foundation was hoping to reach an agreement on the land transfer that night at the meeting, but council members wanted more time to think about their options.

“We’ll have an answer for you at our next meeting, in two weeks,” Kluthe said. “We’ll mull it over. We’d like to see (the transfer agreement) a little more open, but maybe we can use (the land) for something for the city.

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