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Dear Readers;

A very astute Yelm Community Blog reader wrote with these observations about claims on the Thurston Highlands website copyright, 2007:

1. The title says:
Thurston Highlands Paying for More Than Its Share of Growth

The question from a reader:
Have any of the commitments been kept?

What did Highlands owners do on this one?
We now know Thurston Highlands have not kept their commitments to the city and are in default, thanks to this Blog bringing this issue to the surface, resulting in front-page stories in The Olympian & Nisqually Valley News last Friday

2. Road Improvements
From Thurston Highlands’ website:
“A second major investment being covered by Thurston Highlands is the new traffic crossing at Yelm Avenue and Killion Road, as well as the road completion and widening for several blocks in each direction. Killion Road will be extended all the way to the proposed Yelm bypass, and Yelm Avenue will be improved from 93rd to Collins Road.”

What did Highlands owners do on this one?
They went to the city of Yelm and got the City Council to vote in an L. I. D. to transfer 46% of the improvements to Killion & Yelm Ave. West to property owners saying their community would add value to their homes. Now the city just approved last Tuesday an ordinance to tax each property owner approximately $73,000 over 15 years for these roads projects.

See these 2006 stories covered here on the L. I. D.
May 24, 2006
June 13, 2006
June 18, 2006

December 1, 2006

3. Staff added to city
From Thurston Highlands’ website:
“Acknowledging that the work being done on the new Master Planned Community could be a strain on the City of Yelm development staff, Thurston Highlands has also agreed to pay for three additional staff members in the department for three years. These additional staff positions are designated to work on projects other than the Thurston Highlands development.

As part of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process, a number of other “impacts” are likely to be identified. Thurston Highlands is expected to pay for mitigation costs for utility lines, sewer treatment facilities, and additional schools, among other items.”

What did Highlands owners do on this one?
Thurston Highlands has not paid $121,500 for all of 2008 for this invoice by the city.
The EIS did not specify what happens if the builder pulls out or defaults and how the city would then collect
what is owed the taxpayer.

Quoting The Olympian,
“Also, other bills still need to be settled.

Yelm is owed $121,500 for last years staff work to process an environmental impact statement.

Grant Beck, the citys community development director, said his department will not process any applications related to the project until the bill is paid.

‘Well get paid eventually,’ he said. ‘Its just a matter of when.’

Thurston Highland Associates owes more than $57,200 in back property taxes, including interest and penalties, that were due last year, county records show.”

Mr. Beck, will the city get repaid in your lifetime, unless the default is cured by some “11th-hour” funding? And, how are enough homes going to be able to be financed and built to cover all of the expenses?

Even if Thurston Highlands cures the default and moves forward, how are any homes really going to be built out there to pay back the debt via water hook-ups & other ideas. In this economic environment, getting bank credit for new home building now requires stellar credit qualifications that few have, as demonstrated recently by mounting foreclosures, falling home sales and dropping home values.


Posted by Steve on May 18, 2009 at 5:34 am | Permalink

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