I was reading Gary Noble’s cryptic comment about the Board being well aware of the differences between the two appraisals, and a thought came to me. Is there an environmental issue at the new administration site that would cause a difference in the valuation of the property?
It is my understanding that while the District’s appraiser was aware that contamination may be an issue, his appraisal did not directly address contamination or its impact on valuation.
So, what you are saying is that on top of a difference in valuation of $2.5 million, there is a hidden cost related to environmental contamination that was not considered?
That is correct. Neither appraiser included environmental issues related to contamination.
Ok, so they came up with two different amounts on the market value. But neither addressed liability associated with the development of the site. Isn’t it part of due diligence prior to a property transaction to have at least a Phase I Environmental Assessment completed for the proposed acquisition? A bank would require this prior to financing.
A Phase I Environmental Assessment was performed but the site was not financed and therefore not subject to a review by a lender. This was a cash purchase and the funds utilized came from Capital Fund Reserves.
Did the Board see the Assessment?
I am not sure. I saw the assessment and I am not quite sure every aspect of its contents could be easily understood. It couldn’t just be handed to them. They would need to be walked through the document and portions would have to be explained in layman’s terms.
-Sigh- This doesn’t sound good. What you are telling me is that there could be Pandora’s Box when they go to excavate. I did these assessments for years and found even a good one can only hit the tip of the iceberg given the limited scope of work of a Phase I. It isn’t until you get into sampling that you figure out what the potential costs could be. Would the liability for the site be covered by the Risk Management Pool the District belongs to?
If the contamination was limited to one specific area on the site, I could imagine a scenario that might allow excavation and development to occur. However, everything I have seen shows that the contamination is everywhere and varies in magnitude. Regarding liability and protecting the District’s bottom line, I know the District was exploring and then eventually purchased a supplemental insurance policy to protect them from any unanticipated expenses associated with contamination. The likelihood of hitting contamination would be very high, given the nature of District activities to be placed on that site.
I’m shocked at what you are telling me. I’m trying to regroup here; the implications of knowing there is contamination and then purchasing a policy is less than above board. This is very, very sad. It’s scary to think of what the taxpayers might have to pay to develop the property. The increase in construction costs on contaminated soils is significant.
Where is the Assessment? Is it on file at the ESC? Is it a public document? Is it under attorney-client privilege?
The Assessment was provided by AMEC and is in the ESC. It is a public document and can be reviewed by anyone seeking it out. You can call the Planning and Property Management Specialist (425-431-7332) to coordinate a viewing, dependent upon approval from the public records request designee – Marla Miller.
Ok, I’ve already expressed an opinion about whether Marla should be the custodian of public documents, so I’m not going to repeat myself. But, if it’s not attorney-client privilege and its 90 days past the transaction, why would I or anyone else need “approval” to view it?
You can ask Marla why her approval is needed when you make your request.
Well, I now understand your passion about all of this. Not only was the market value possibly inflated, not all of the information regarding the actual development of the site may have been known or understood. I will make a records request tomorrow. I will let you know when I receive it.
That will be in 15 days. Talk to you then.
Fun Factoid: Claire Olsovsky is the former Loss Control/Safety Specialist for the District. She left the District shortly before Marla put this land transaction together. Claire has a Master’s degree in Environmental Health and 22 years of experience in the field. Her first site was the 93rd Street School at Love Canal and worked on the first Superfund site to be de-listed (the Wade Site, Chester, PA).
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Pandora's Box found in Lynnwood
Posted by ESD15.org at 3:43 PM
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Holy *&%$! The new ESC will be built on contaminated land? And the district already overpaid by $2.5 million? And the construction costs will be going through the roof? And Marla recommended and authorized additional insurance knowing about the contamination? The seller must be laughing his/her head off!
Please send this to the school board, state auditor, and the superintendent. Taxpayers, hang on to your wallet and demand accountability!
This site used to be a landfill for the construction of Interstate 5. They pushed everything out of the way and into this depressed, marshy area. Based upon what was in the way and how deep the depression was prior to I-5, the contents cannot be clean.
Having driven past the site many times during years of involvement in real estate off-hand comments regarding it were always of the variety that it would never be built on, or that only an idiot would ever purchase it.
We were wrong - the Seller was very shrewd indeed.
Contaminated land is ok, Look at old woodway Elem. That was contaminated land too & the Edmonds school District, paid for that clean up, so its OK to pay for all clean up then you have tax payers money.
Shouldn't this dialog be taking place in court, under oath, with district officials as defendants? I hope they will be held to the same level of accountability that they so eagerly subject their employees to!
From What I read the price vaiance was $250,000 or $0.25 million, not $2.5 million. $580,000-$330,000=$250,000.
The example that was provided was for a conceptual house at 1/10th the magnitude of the District's property transaction. The example did not mean to suggest or imply that a meth lab existed on the property purchased by the District, but rather the impact of unknown contamination on the value of a site.
$5,800,000 - $3,300,000 = $2,500,000.
The original purchase price in 2001 was approximately $900,000.
Well, for what it's worth - the Cedar Valley Elementary site had a leaking oil tank for years. It was left with significant sludge remaining inside and paved over prior to Scriber Lake taking occupation. I doubt that it will be removed now - perhaps the State will be notified when construction is finnished.
What is wrong with the current ESC Building? The old ESC on 196th served us well for for 50 years (or more)! What is wrong with this picture? Why not move Transportation, Warehouse and Maintenace to one site and simply use the well-built, functional, Administration Building where it stands? Why does the Board and Ms. Miller insist on moving to a new location? Perhaps Ms. Miller needs additional space to store her "confidential files"? This is the only reason I can come up with. I worked at the present ESC site and found it quite accommodating, and functional, close to the post office, and courthouse; you never know, they may be headed to the court house soon and could simply walk next door, thus saving tax payers dollars spent on gasoline for District automobiles!
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