Overdale Water Association Update

March,  2020

Dale Timmons, President

Claus Mueller, VP

Chani Doggett, VP

This notice is being provided to the residents of Overdale Park by the Overdale Water Board in order to share information and updates regarding the activities of the Overdale Water Association. There has been limited communication between the Board and community for several years because there has been limited activity and not much to share. However, it is now time to bring the community up to date.

The Overdale Water Board consists of Dale Timmons, Claus Mueller and Chani Doggett. Overdale Park was annexed into the Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District (SPWSD) several years ago. This decision was made after a new replacement well was drilled adjacent to the community’s older failing well. The water produced from the new well exhibited arsenic concentrations above EPA limits and the water could not be used without being treated. After assessing available options, it was clear that the most economic option (by a considerable margin) for the residents of Overdale Park to become SPWSD customers.

SPWSD invested about $1 million to bring the aging Overdale water distribution and metering system up to SPWSD standards.  About half of this expense was paid for by a grant from the State of Washington. The remainder was covered by a Utility Local Improvement District (ULID) loan from King County. This low-interest (15-year, 3%) loan was distributed on a pro-rata basis to the residents of Overdale Park serviced by the ULID. This loan resulted in each connection holding a note and a lien on the associated property to secure the note. In exchange for these expenditures, the community has a more reliable, higher pressure water supply serviced by multiple perimeter connections.  More importantly, all future expenditures for maintenance, service or system replacement costs will be borne by SPWSD. As SPWSD customers, Overdale residents now enjoy water rates that are lower than what we paid for our private system. 

Since being annexed by SPWSD, the Overdale Water Board has been working to sell assets owned by the Overdale Water Association.  These assets included three properties and the Overdale Water Rights. The three properties have been sold and the proceeds deposited to the Overdale Water Association bank account. Overdale Water Association cash assets currently total about $315,000. It is and always has been the intent to use these proceeds to pay down community ULID notes on a pro-rata basis.

Considerable effort has been expended to sell the Overdale water rights.  A purchase and sale agreement was negotiated and executed with the Willows Run Golf Course for them to acquire the rights for $170,000.  An application with the Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology) was filed to obtain approval for transfer of the rights. Unfortunately, the Muckleshoot tribe attorney (Carla Carlson) intervened and objected to the transfer on the basis that it would harm salmon populations. Expending community funds to litigate the objection was determined not to be in the best interests of the community and this agreement was abandoned. Additional efforts to sell the rights to King County Parks and Recreation, City of Issaquah, Brown Bear Car Wash and to waterfront home owners on Lake Sammamish have not been successful.

SPWSD has expressed interest in purchasing the Overdale water rights. Discussions have been ongoing with SPWSD for several months on this topic. SPWSD is seeking to acquire a dozen or so similar water rights from other owners.  However, they do not have certainty regarding a path forward involving transfer applications with Ecology.  SPWSD Director, Jay Krauss has made it clear that SPWSD needs to have some certainty in being able to transfer rights and extract water from another location using the rights, or use the purchased water rights as mitigation for extraction at another, more distant location.  Jay indicated that SPWSD currently does not have certainty to do either with any of the water rights that they wish to acquire.

SPWSD is setting up a meeting with Ecology to try to obtain some guidance and establish a realistic pathway toward acquiring and using Overdale (and other) water rights. This meeting should take place in March or April 2020.

The goal of SPWSD is to establish timely resolution regarding these multiple water rights that they are pursuing and they are using legal counsel to assist in applying pressure to the Ecology to achieve a resolution. The outcome and timeline for this process is not well established.

The Overdale Water Board is seeking feedback from the community in the path forward. There appear to be three options including:

  1. Donate the water rights to the Washington State Trust, send the existing assets to King County for pro-rata payment to open ULID accounts, pay final expenses and terminate the Overdale Water Association. This would result in each open ULID account associated with each connection being paid down by approximately $2,000.
  2. Continue to wait to see how things develop with SPWSD.  It is estimated that the community might get somewhere in the range of $100,000 for the rights if Sammamish purchases them.  There are no guarantees that they will purchase the rights, what they are willing to pay, and it is not known how long this might take. It could take another one or two years after which the funds would be used to pay down open ULID accounts.
  3. Take the majority of the funds now and use them to pay down open ULID accounts on a pro-rata basis leaving some money (say $20,000) in the account for tax/insurance/legal and other final costs and keep the Water Association active while continuing to wait for Sammamish to reach resolution in the hope that we can sell the rights. If the rights are sold, the proceeds would also be sent to King County for distribution to open ULID accounts on a pro-rata basis.

If you wish to comment on the above options, please submit your comments through the Overdale Park Homeowners Association web site at: http://overdalepark.org/ .

As President of Overdale Water Association, I am willing to continue to serve the community through the conclusion of Option 1.  If Options 2 or 3 are preferred by the community, I plan to step aside and let someone else take the lead. Therefore, those in favor of Options 2 or 3 should be prepared to step forward and donate their time and effort in the continuing efforts to sell the water rights to SPWSD and conduct the final activities associated with closure of the Overdale Water Association.

Best Wishes,

Overdale Water Board

Dale Timmons, President

You have reviewed all documents. Thank you for your continued commitment to our great neighborhood!