Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Chelan PUD Board approves purchase of nearly 5,000 acres of undeveloped land

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WENATCHEE  — Chelan Public Utility District commissioners have greenlighted the purchase of a substantial parcel of undeveloped land, spanning 4,910 acres, in the foothills above Malaga for $5.325 million from Ravenwing Ranch, LLC.

The deal, which breaks down to about $1,100 per acre, is in the middle of a 90-day investigation period to fully assess the land's value. Following this due diligence, the transaction is set to be finalized within two months.

The land is not involved in a current dispute between the state's Department of Fish and Wildlife, Chelan County, and the seller, Ravenwing Ranch LLC.

Plans for the newly acquired acreage are still in the brainstorming phase as Chelan PUD begins a strategic planning process to navigate the district's direction over the next 50 years, focusing on long-term preparation for utility services.

Several commissioners have publicly backed the purchase, pointing to the strategic plan's vision and the land's potential for future energy solutions and environmental conservation.

“It positions this utility for the long-term,” said Commissioner Carnan Bergren. “It gives us a tremendous amount of options going forward.”

Commissioner Steve McKenna weighed the purchase's significance against several factors: cost, future power requirements, environmental impact, and the potential for energy production.

“Are we setting ourselves up for 40 to 50 years into the future?” McKenna said. “What will it be used for? We don’t know that. Just like our forefathers years and years ago, they took a risk but they took local control. As we talk about large entities coming in, we want to make sure we’re doing the best we can to promote local control.”

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