Chapter 7.05
LAKE TAPPS RESERVOIR PROPERTY MANAGEMENT POLICY1

Sections:

7.05.010    Introduction.

7.05.020    Policy goal.

7.05.030    Purpose of reservoir.

7.05.040    Authority.

7.05.050    Policy on new improvements and/or modifications to existing improvements on Cascade’s property.

7.05.010 Introduction.

This policy addresses management and use of property owned by Cascade Water Alliance (“Cascade”) at the Lake Tapps Reservoir, a part of the White-River Lake Tapps Reservoir project (“project”). This policy provides government departments, municipalities, developers, lot owners, and the general public with tools that will assist all parties in resolving issues associated with development and/or activities adjacent to the Lake Tapps Reservoir. For the purpose of this policy, Cascade’s interests at the Lake Tapps Reservoir are referred to as “Cascade’s property.”

This policy is a companion to the dike usage policy adopted by the Cascade board of directors by Resolution 2011-04 as summarized in Appendix C. This policy does not address (A) project lands nonadjacent to the Lake Tapps Reservoir or (B) Cascade property adjacent to lands owned and/or controlled by the city of Bonney Lake or Pierce County.

In a 1954 deed, Puget Sound Energy (“PSE”) conveyed most of the land surrounding the Lake Tapps Reservoir to the Lake Tapps Development Corporation (“LTDC”). PSE reserved ownership of the land and lake bed below a specified elevation (“the 545-foot contour line”) but also agreed to allow certain recreational uses on that reserved property by the LTDC and its successors. In 1958, when the LTDC reconveyed the dikes back to PSE, it reserved an easement for crossing over the dikes to access the reservoir for recreation by the owners of the property adjacent to the dikes.

Currently, about 1,500 homes and several parks and homeowner association facilities surround the reservoir. Those property owners are successors-in-interest to the LTDC.

Over the years, many property owners obtained easements or licenses from PSE to use the reservoir property below the 545-foot contour line (such uses include bulkheads, landscaping areas, swimming areas, etc.). While these easements and licenses allowed for property owners to use PSE’s property, all rights remained subject to PSE ability under the 1954 deed to raise lake levels to the 545-foot contour line.

In 2009, Cascade became the successor-in-interest to PSE. Cascade now owns all land below the 545-foot contour line (subject to the recreational uses allowed in the 1954 deed) and the 15 dikes (subject to the uses of the dikes allowed under the 1958 easement), all subject to any written agreements between PSE and specific property owners.

In 2009, Cascade also entered into an agreement with the Lake Tapps community, agreeing to maintain a water level during the annual recreational period in a range called “normal full pool” between 541.5 feet and 543 feet (or 541 feet and 542.5 feet NGVD 1929). This determination of normal full pool was achieved through extensive modeling and negotiations to assure that all interests would be protected. With the storage capability of normal full pool, Cascade was able to agree with the community that provisions of recreational lake levels would take priority over the provision of municipal water supply. These elevations and priorities were included in the state water rights issued to Cascade in 2010.

As a result, while Cascade still has the right under the 1954 deed to raise the lake to 545 feet, at this time, it has agreed to a normal full pool of up to 543 feet. Thus, all property owners assume the risk of damage to their property as a result of Cascade raising the lake levels to 543 feet, the high range of normal full pool, two feet less than was reserved in the 1954 deed.

The 545-foot contour line was described in the 1954 deed by referencing a bronze plaque embedded in the concrete floor of the gate house at the Lake Tapps Reservoir. That plaque is still used today by surveyors. Cascade has developed a database that overlays the surveyed 545-foot contour line on the Pierce County assessor’s maps and is striving to make that database publicly available. [Res. 2012-03 § 2 (Att. A § 1)].

7.05.020 Policy goal.

The intent of this policy is to keep Cascade’s property free of any obstructions and unauthorized structures and to ensure that (A) existing improvements do not compromise dike integrity, water quality, environmental health or safety, and public enjoyment; and/or (B) any modifications or new improvements are licensed by Cascade and permitted by other agencies in order to maintain dike integrity, water quality, environmental health or safety, and public enjoyment. [Res. 2012-03 § 2 (Att. A § 2)].

7.05.030 Purpose of reservoir.

The Lake Tapps Reservoir is a major component of Cascade’s long-term water supply system: The objective of the system is to allow Cascade to provide – in a coordinated, cost-effective, and environmentally responsible manner – a safe, reliable, high quality municipal water supply that will meet the current and projected demands of its members and the Central Puget Sound region from a source that is sufficiently large, certain, and nonspeculative, and is available both for immediate, short-term use and for long-term use over a 50- to 100-year planning period.

The reservoir is currently used for recreation and as part of the flow regime that allows for the restoration of the White River fishery. Those uses will continue during the future use of the reservoir for municipal water supply. [Res. 2012-03 § 2 (Att. A § 3)].

7.05.040 Authority.

Cascade is a municipal corporation formed under the authority of Chapter 39.106 RCW for the purpose of its Members working together to plan, develop, and operate a water supply system and regional assets that will meet Cascade’s Members’ current and future drinking water needs. The Members of Cascade are as follows:

City of Bellevue

City of Tukwila

City of Issaquah

Covington Water District

City of Kirkland

Skyway Water and Sewer District

City of Redmond

Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District

The Joint Municipal Utility Services Agreement provides Cascade with authority to acquire, receive, own, manage, lease, and sell real property and to establish policies to carry out its powers. By resolution, the Board adopted this policy on February 22, 2012. [Res. 2012-07 § 52; Res. 2012-03 § 2 (Att. A § 6)].

7.05.050 Policy on new improvements and/or modifications to existing improvements on Cascade’s property.

A. Requests for New Improvements or Modification to Existing Improvements. Generally, for a request by a third party to place a new improvement on Cascade’s property or to modify an existing improvement, a license will be required. Such requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis to determine if the requested improvement and/or modification has the potential to pose an operational danger or problem. Cascade is authorized to determine the conditions under which improvements and/or modifications on the Cascade property are appropriate under the 1954 deed and 1958 easement.

Table 1 lists types of improvements currently observed on the reservoir. Columns B and C list how those existing improvements will be addressed if modifications are requested or if new improvements of the same type are requested. Refer to subsection (C) of this section for an explanation of Table 1. Subsection (C) of this section and Table 1 may be updated by Cascade’s chief executive officer, without further action of the board.

At its sole discretion, Cascade may take enforcement action regarding an unauthorized improvement constructed and/or a modification to an existing improvement made after the date of the adoption of this policy. See subsection (B) of this section regarding enforcement action.

B. Existing Improvements. At its sole discretion, Cascade may take enforcement action regarding the unauthorized improvements. Cascade will not take enforcement action against an improvement existing as of the date of adoption of this policy so long as the improvement does not compromise dike integrity, water quality, environmental health or safety, or public enjoyment, or expose Cascade to legal or financial liability.

Table 1 lists the existing types of improvements observed on the reservoir. Column A provides Cascade’s policy regarding each type of existing improvement noted to date. Refer to subsection (C) of this section for an explanation of Table 1. Subsection (C) of this section and Table 1 may be updated by Cascade’s chief executive officer, without further action of the board.

The term “enforcement action” refers to a range of possible actions from requiring a license to requiring removal. If Cascade does take an enforcement action regarding an unauthorized improvement or modification to an existing improvement, the person(s) responsible for the unauthorized structure will be required to remove the structures from the reservoir lands or seek a license as determined by Cascade. If the person(s) responsible for the unauthorized structure refuses to remove the structure or seek a license, or such license is denied, Cascade may take necessary actions to ensure the structure is removed.

C. Table 1 Explanation. Where indicated “No,” Cascade has determined that the type of use and/or improvement cannot be allowed without jeopardizing the safe operation of the Lake Tapps Reservoir.

Where indicated “No action,” Cascade has determined, considering efficient use of its public resources, that it will generally take no action on either future requests or existing encroachments.

Where indicated “License required,” Cascade will consider issuance of a license on a case-by-case basis. Cascade will review the particular request to determine if the proposed use and/or improvement create an operational danger or problem in the use of Lake Tapps Reservoir for water utility and recreational purposes. If Cascade determines, in its sole discretion, that such use and/or improvement is acceptable, a license will be issued, conditioned on the following, as well as the conditions listed for individual improvement type as footnotes to Table 1:

1. Unless an individual license provides otherwise, the license will continue unless terminated by a breach of the license by the applicant or a determination by Cascade that termination of the license is necessary for the use of the Lake Tapps Reservoir for the operation as a municipal water supply;

2. Applicant showing it will protect against the operational dangers, problems, and/or concerns raised by Cascade (e.g., dike integrity, water quality, recreational safety), including providing professional opinions if required by Cascade, at applicant’s expense (e.g., dam engineer opinion);

3. Applicant will obtain and comply with the requirements of all jurisdictions (e.g., Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, United States Army Corps of Engineers, Bonney Lake and/or Pierce County) for approvals and permits (e.g., building, zoning, shoreline, and/or environmental protection). Cascade will notify permitting agencies when processing license requests;

4. Applicant’s release of Cascade from all liability associated with the use and/or improvement, including flooding damage/destruction from Cascade’s right to raise the water of the reservoir to 545 feet or from wave action;

5. Applicant’s full indemnification of Cascade;

6. Applicant’s proof of insurance (homeowner’s insurance and contractor’s proof of insurance if construction is involved) for specific use and/or improvement, naming Cascade as an additional insured, to be updated annually by the applicant;

7. Applicant/licensee may not sublet or assign the rights or obligations of the license; however, the license transfers with the licensee’s property and a purchaser or tenant must comply with the obligations. Cascade reserves the right to record this license against the licensee’s property so subsequent owners are on notice of their responsibilities;

8. Other specific requirements as may be required by Cascade to achieve the goals of this policy;

9. Due to Cascade’s status as a public entity, and pursuant to Chapter 82.29A RCW, Cascade may be required to collect leasehold excise tax for some licenses (as indicated in Table 1), based on the fair market value of the right being granted. Improvements are subject to either leasehold excise tax or property tax. The Pierce County assessor’s office conducts inspections, reviews permit records, and uses other tools to ensure property tax is levied on owner’s property as a whole (regardless of whether the improvements are located on the owner’s property or Cascade’s property). Cascade is in discussion with Pierce County and currently anticipates that the improvements will be subject to property tax rather than leasehold excise tax; however, this may change in the future; and

10. With the number of license applications currently anticipated, Cascade will not charge an administrative fee for license but may require that the applicant pay for any professional review required in processing an application. If the number of applications becomes too great, Cascade may reevaluate this policy.

Table 1
 

No.

THIRD PARTY IMPROVEMENTS ON CASCADE PROPERTY

A.

EXISTING

B.

MODIFICATION TO EXISTING

C.

NEW REQUESTS

1

Bridges and Causeways

No action

License required

License required

2

Boat Launch/Ramp (paved)

No action

License required

License required

3

Boat Lifts

No action

License required

License required

4

Bulkheads

No action

License required; tax may be charged

License required; tax may be charged

5

Buoys for Markers or Signage/Roped Off Areas

No action1

No action

No action

6

Diving Platforms, Boards and Slides

No action2

License required

License required

7

Docks (including floating docks)

No action

License required

License required

8

Fences

Dikes: Req. removal3

Other: No action

Dikes: Req. removal3

Other: Lic. req.

Dikes: No

Other: Lic. req.

9

Fill (below 545' line)

No action

License required; tax may be charged

License required; tax may be charged

10

Houses/Garages

License required; tax may be charged

License required; tax may be charged

Not allowed

11

Landscape Improvements (grass, patios)

Dikes: Req. removal3

Other: No action

Dikes: Req. removal3

Other: Lic. req.5

Dikes: No

Other: Lic. req.5

12

Litter (garbage cans placement)

Remove

Not allowed

Not allowed

13

Log Booms – Anchored

Removal may be required4

Not allowed

Not allowed

14

Piped Discharge

Check for permits; notify regulators

License required

License required

15

Recreational Items (e.g., swimming platforms, and items such as firepits and horseshoe pits, etc.)

Dikes: Req. removal3

Other: No action

Dikes: Req. removal3

Other: Lic. req.; tax may be charged

Dikes: Not allowed

Other: Lic. req.; tax may be charged

16

Rope Swings

No action6

License required

License required

17

Structures (e.g., carports, storage sheds)

Dikes: Req. removal3

Other: No action

Dikes: Req. removal3

Other: Lic. req.; tax may be charged

Dikes: No

Other: Lic. req.; tax may be charged

18

Motorized Vehicles (electric, gas)

Require removal3

Require removal3

Not allowed

1.    Cascade may require the removal of any buoys as deemed dangerous to recreational use.

2.    Cascade may require the removal of any diving platform, board or slide as it deems necessary for health or safety or to manage Cascade legal or financial risk exposure.

3.    Removal required unless allowed under existing license or permit from PSE.

4.    Cascade may require removal of log booms as it deems necessary for health or safety or to manage Cascade legal or financial risk exposure, or for any operational purpose.

5.    Use will most likely coincide with request for fill and/or bulkhead improvement. Follow same requirements and fee may be charged.

6.    Cascade will require the removal of any rope swing as deemed necessary for health or safety or to manage Cascade legal or financial risk exposure.

[Res. 2012-03 § 2 (Att. A § 5)].


1

Code reviser’s note: Resolution 2012-03 adopts the Lake Tapps Reservoir Property Management Policy, which is available for download here.