Chapter 2.97
CONSERVATION FUTURES FUND ALLOCATION AND SELECTION CRITERIA

Sections:

2.97.010    Purpose.

2.97.020    Definitions.

2.97.030    Conservation of Open Space Lands.

2.97.040    Conservation Futures Funds – Allocation.

2.97.050    Nomination Application and Acquisition Requirements.

2.97.060    Selection Criteria.

2.97.070    Property Acquisition Costs.

2.97.080    Conservation Futures Covenants.

2.97.090    Long-Term Financial Commitments.

2.97.100    Property Management Authority.

2.97.110    Conservation Futures Opportunity Account.

Appendix:

A.    Conservation Futures Evaluation Categories and Points

Cross-reference:    RCW 64.04.130, and Chapter 84.34 RCW; Chapters 19D.170, 2.96, and 4.14 PCC

2.97.010 Purpose.

The purpose of this Chapter is to establish selection criteria and procedures for Pierce County to acquire conservation futures property using conservation futures funds. (Ord. 2012-82s § 2 (part), 2012; Ord. 98-118S § 3 (part), 1999)

2.97.020 Definitions.

"Active Recreation Areas" means locations where indoor and outdoor recreation activities and athletics occur which have predominant value as sites for specific recreation activities unrelated to the natural environment, such as ball fields, regional athletic sites, playgrounds, swimming pools, skate parks, skating arenas, and recreational centers. Active recreation areas may be allowed on properties purchased with conservation futures funds when recommended by the Board, and/or approved by the Council, and addressed in the covenants or property restrictions.

"Archaeological Sites" means geographical locations, including those lands that are submerged and submersible and the bed of the sea that contain archeological objects, that comprise the physical evidence of an indigenous and subsequent culture including material remains of past human life including monuments, symbols, tools, facilities, and technological by-products. Archeological sites may contain prehistoric, historic archeological resources or both. Historic sites must be eligible for listing in the Washington State Register of Historic Places (RCW 27.34.220) or the National Register of Historic Places as defined in the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (Title 1, Sec. 101, Public Law 89-665; 80 Stat. 915; 16 U.S.C. Sec. 470) as now or hereafter amended. Confidentiality of locations may be required of archeological sites.

"Agricultural Land" means: (1) a parcel of land that is five or more acres or multiple parcels of land that are contiguous and total five or more acres which is or are devoted primarily to the current production of horticultural, viticultural, floricultural, dairy, apiary, vegetable, or animal products or of berries, grain, hay, straw, turf, seed, Christmas trees not subject to the excise tax imposed by RCW 84.33.100 through 84.33.140, or livestock, and which has significance for agricultural production; or (2) land that has been traditionally in or is still capable of production of the above as demonstrated by sales receipts, income tax statements or other materials which the County accepts as proof that farming once occurred on the property and the property could be returned to highly productive commercial agriculture, conservation plans, and farm plans which includes a water protection plan that shall be reviewed and approved by the conservation district prior to granting. The key criterion for defining Agricultural Lands is the presence of the County's most productive agricultural soil types and their associated production yield: soils identified as "Prime Farmland" in the NRCS Field Office Technical Guide for Pierce County, Section 2., distributed February 24, 2003, which have a grass/legume production yield of 3.5 tons per acre or greater, as identified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service soil classification system.

"Board" means the Conservation Futures and Open Space Citizens' Advisory Board.

"Contiguous" means land adjoining or touching other property. Land divided by a public road, but otherwise an integral part of the same land, shall also be considered "contiguous" for purposes of this Chapter.

"Committee" means the Conservation Futures and Open Space Technical Advisory Committee.

"Conservation Futures Fund" means the fund established under PCC 4.48.020 and to which are credited all conservation futures funds derived from the property taxes levied pursuant to Chapter 4.14 PCC.

"Conservation Futures Property" means the fee simple or any lesser interest, present or future development right, easement, covenant, or other contractual right necessary to protect, preserve, maintain, improve, restore, limit the future use of, or otherwise conserve selected open space land, farm and agricultural land, or timber land as the same are either defined in, or designated under the provisions of Chapter 84.34 RCW, acquired through the conservation futures program.

"Conservation/Historic Preservation Easement" means a property restriction in perpetuity on the use of the property. It is a recorded deed restriction, or covenant, and the enforcement of the restriction is most often given to a land trust or a government agency. A conservation easement will prevent future real estate development, industrial or commercial use. The easement may allow continued current use for example, residential and recreational use, agriculture, forestry, or ranching. However, most often a conservation easement restricts both the current as well as the future uses of the land to some important conservation quality of the land, such as habitat, open space, or scenic views. A conservation easement or restrictive covenant must be recorded against the deed as a part of the final agreement with the land owner.

"Council" means the Pierce County Council.

"County" means all unincorporated areas of Pierce County, Departments of Pierce County Government and includes Department Directors and their designees.

"Critical Salmon Habitat" means:

1.    The specific areas within the geographical area occupied by the species, at the time it is listed in accordance with the provisions of Section 4 of the Federal Endangered Species Act, on which are found those physical or biological features:

a.    Essential to the conservation of the species; and

b.    Which may require special management considerations or protection; and

2.    Specific areas outside the geographical area occupied by the species at the time it is listed in accordance with the provisions of Section 4 of the Federal Endangered Species Act, upon a determination by the national Secretary on the Interior and/or Commerce that such areas are essential for the conservation of the species.

"Department" means the Pierce County Parks and Recreation Services Department.

"Exceptional Opportunity" means a Conservation Futures proposal that will no longer be viable by the beginning of the next application and allocation process, and qualifies for at least 60 percent of the available Evaluation points on Table 2.97.110-1 as determined by the Department.

"Executive" means the Chief Executive Officer of Pierce County.

"Farm Lands" means agricultural lands as defined in this Section.

"Fish and Wildlife Habitat Conservation Areas" means a geographic area or areas necessary for maintaining species and may include areas of unique vegetation, successional stage, or habitat elements important to fish and wildlife, and may also include the connecting corridors between those areas. Examples of fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas include areas with which endangered, threatened, and sensitive species have a primary association; habitats and species of local importance; commercial and recreational shellfish areas; kelp and eelgrass beds; herring and smelt spawning areas; wetlands; naturally occurring ponds under 20 acres and their submerged aquatic beds that provide fish or wildlife habitat; state natural area preserves, natural resource conservation areas; land located within the Pierce County Biodiversity Network as identified in the Pierce County Biodiversity Network Assessment report dated August 2004; and any regulated fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas identified in the Pierce County critical area regulations.

"Historic Landmark Sites" means locations strongly associated with significant prehistoric or historic events or patterns of events and well documented through scholarly research. Historic landmark sites may include archeological sites. Historic landmark sites must be eligible for listing in the Washington State Register of Historic Places (RCW 27.34.220) or the National Register of Historic Places as defined in the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (Title 1, Sec. 101, Public Law 89-665; 80 Stat. 915; 16 U.S.C. Sec. 470) as now or hereafter amended.

"Lakes" means all freshwater impoundments 20 acres or greater in size and their undeveloped shoreline areas.

"Letter of Opinion" means a restricted limited or complete appraisal report prepared in accordance with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice by a Washington State licensed or certified real property appraiser indicating the fair market value of a particular conservation futures property or rights to be acquired.

"Leverage Statement" means a description of guaranteed dollars available through funding sources other than the conservation futures fund. The source of these funds and the date the monies will be available for expenditure must be described in the application materials. For example, Recreation Conservation Office (RCO) monies in the amount of ($) will be available for expenditure by (some date) and will be matched using proposed conservation futures monies in amount of ($).

"Limit the future use of" means any future improvements to the conservation futures property shall be limited to those uses which are passive in nature, or related to agriculture or forestry; provided that active recreation may be allowed on a conservation futures property or portion thereof, when recommended by the Board and/or approved by the Council and addressed in the covenants or property restrictions. In all cases, improvements to conservation futures properties purchased with conservation futures funds must meet the requirements and intent of RCW 84.34.200-220.

"Marine Estuaries, and Tidal Marshes" means areas that are inundated or saturated by a mixture of salt and fresh surface or groundwater at a frequency sufficient to support vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions and associated buffer areas.

"Marine Waters" means Puget Sound and its associated undeveloped shoreline areas.

"May" means optional and permissive and does not impose a requirement.

"Non-Profit Receiving Agency" means a non-profit historic preservation corporation as defined in RCW 64.04.130 or a non-profit nature conservancy corporation or association as defined in RCW 84.34.250.

"Open Space" means a landscape which is primarily unimproved. Open space areas may include: agricultural and timber lands, marine waters, estuaries and tidal marshes, streams, rivers, lakes, critical areas, wooded areas, passive recreation areas, parks with active recreation uses, scenic viewpoints, scenic corridors, archeological sites, historic landmark sites, trails, abandoned railroad lines, utility corridors, and other vacant rights-of-way. Permanent dedication, designation, or reservation of open space for public or private use may occur in accordance with the County's Comprehensive Plan policies.

"Open Space Passive Recreation Areas" means open space areas where public use and access is desired and improvements will enhance public accessibility to the natural resources available at the site. County open space parks as found in the County's Capital Facilities Plan Element of the Comprehensive Plan are included.

"Other Environmental Goals" means goals, objectives, policies, or regulations that address environmental issues adopted by a city, town, Tribe, special purpose district, or county including, without limitation, goals that address air and water quality, fish and animal habitat, natural resource protection, and conservation of land. Adopted plans may include the County's community plans, the County's Parks, Recreation and Open Space Plan, or a City's Comprehensive Plan or Parks Plans.

"Owner" means the party or parties holding a fee interest in the land including, without limitation, the holder of a vendee's interest in a real estate contract.

"Parks with Developed Facilities" means a park designed for organized activities and sports, although individual and family activities are also encouraged.

"Passive Recreation Uses" means an outdoor leisure-time activity which usually occurs in a setting that has been preserved, as nearly as possible, in the original or natural condition. Passive recreation may occur in open space, farm, agricultural and timber lands and, where determined appropriate, in critical area buffers, aquifer recharge and flood water storage areas. Activities may include, but are not limited to: picnicking, sightseeing, walking, hiking, biking, horseback riding, and nature walks. Accessory structures associated with passive recreation uses may include, but are not limited to: playground equipment, picnic shelters and tables, barbecue pits, exercise stations, restroom facilities, benches, directory signs, garbage containers, trails, paths, parking areas, and landscaped areas.

"PCC" means the Pierce County Code.

"Prairie Land" means a parcel of land that is 10 or more acres or multiple parcels of land that are contiguous and total 10 or more acres with a minimum width of 300 feet predominated by native, drought-resistant grasses, forbs (flowering non-woody plants), and herbs. In Pierce County, prairies are an unusual vegetation regime found in areas of extremely well-drained soils.

"Preserved Open Space" means land that is controlled by a public agency or non-profit agency through fee simple ownership or conservation easement and is preserved or restricted to open space purposes for the types of conservation futures priorities defined in PCC 2.97.030.

"Public Receiving Agency" means a State agency, Federal agency, county, city, town, metropolitan park district, park and recreation district, or municipal corporation empowered to hold on behalf of the public fee simple or other interests in land.

"Receiving Agency Affidavit" means a signed affidavit by a Public Receiving Agency or a Non-Profit Receiving Agency agreeing to accept the conveyance of a conservation futures property and to hold the same in perpetuity for and on behalf of the general public.

"Recommendations" means the Board's written findings and conclusions as to how its recommendations satisfy the fund allocation and selection criteria; along with a summary of the proceedings and the Boards' vote on all matters; any concerns which the Board desires to be considered by the Council; and a proposed appropriation ordinance setting forth the applications and/or proposals recommended for funding (See PCC 2.96.050).

"Scenic Corridors" means an area of adjoining parcels which individually may be less than one acre but which, when combined, total at least one acre and create a view corridor critical to maintaining a view of a scenic resource visible from a federally- or state-designated scenic highway which is visually significant to the aesthetic character of the County.

"Scenic Viewpoint" means property adjacent to a federally- or state-designated scenic highway or other officially designated viewpoint that provides a view of an area which is visually significant to the aesthetic character of the county and which provides unlimited public access identified by a permanent sign readily visible from the road. Viewpoints may be officially designated by the State of Washington, the County, or a city or town.

"Shall" means mandatory and imposes a requirement.

"Sponsor" means an authorized representative of a public or non-profit receiving agency or any County resident other than an owner of the conservation futures property being considered for acquisition.

"Sponsor Affidavit" means an affidavit signed by a Sponsor indicating the owner of a conservation futures property has been informed said property is being nominated for purchase through the conservation futures program.

"Streams and Rivers" means a flow of water conveyed in a channel or course either continuously or intermittently, and the water's associated buffer.

"Threatened" means that within the next three years from the date conservation futures applications are due for that application cycle, the conservation futures nominated property will likely not be available in its current open space condition. Evidence of threat may include but is not limited to the following: (1) there is development activity adjacent to or within the vicinity of the conservation futures nominated property which will likely over time impact the open space condition of the property; (2) the conservation futures nominated property is currently listed for sale; (3) applications for development permits have been submitted with respect to the conservation futures nominated property; (4) the conservation futures priorities of the nominated property is not adequately protected by existing development regulations.

"Timber land" means any parcel of land that is 40 or more acres or multiple parcels of land that are contiguous and total 40 or more acres which is or are devoted primarily to the growth and harvest of forest crops for commercial purposes.

"Trails and Corridors" means trails and corridors that are used for hiking, biking, walking, horseback riding, and jogging. The trails may vary in scale and surfacing and may also be used as a means of non-motorized transportation connecting one destination point to another. Potentially, trails may include areas providing linkages between trails, abandoned rail lines, utility corridors, vacant rights-of-way, and road endings.

"Uses which are passive in nature" means public outdoor recreation activities, fish and wildlife habitat, and open space uses that do not disturb the integrity of the underlying environment and that have predominant value as sites in their natural condition as existing or as restored with vegetation and wildlife. Such uses shall include, but are not limited to, trails, paths, interpretive kiosks, viewpoints, picnicking areas, access, restrooms, parking, landscaping that includes restoring the natural habitat, wildlife observation structures, and primitive camping, where appropriate.

"Wetlands" means areas that are inundated or saturated by surface or groundwater at a frequency sufficient to support vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions, and associated buffer areas. Wetlands generally include swamps, marshes, bogs and similar areas.

"Wooded Areas" means a parcel of land that is 20 or more acres or multiple parcels of land that are contiguous and total 20 or more acres with a minimum width of 300 feet on which is found a stand of coniferous or deciduous trees with over 50 percent canopy cover, diversity of species, and native plant under story. The wooded area must serve a demonstrated functional purpose in climate, noise, light, habitat or pollution control.

(Ord. 2012-82s § 2 (part), 2012; Ord. 2009-45s § 2 (part), 2009; Ord. 2004-112s § 1 (part), 2004; Ord. 2001-59s2 § 1 (part), 2002; Ord. 98-118S § 3 (part), 1999)

2.97.030 Conservation of Open Space Lands.

Pierce County considers all of the open space resources identified in Chapter 19D.170 PCC important to the health, safety, and welfare of its citizens. However, to more efficiently use conservation futures funds, the following priorities are hereby established:

Conservation Futures Priorities

(In No Order of Priority)

Resource Conservation

 Agricultural Lands

 Timber Lands

• Wooded Areas

 

Biodiversity Conservation

 Critical Salmon Habitat

 Fish and Wildlife Habitat Conservation Areas

• Prairie Land

 

Marine Shoreline Conservation

• Marine Waters

• Marine Estuaries and Tidal Marshes

 

Lake, River and Stream Conservation

• Streams and Rivers

• Lakes

 

Trail Conservation

• Trails and Corridors

 

Natural Heritage Conservation

• Open Space Passive Recreation Areas

• Parks with Active Recreation Areas

• Scenic Viewpoints and Corridors

• Archaeological and Historic Landmark Sites

(Ord. 2012-82s § 2 (part), 2012; Ord. 2009-45s § 2 (part), 2009; Ord. 2004-112s § 1 (part), 2004; Ord. 98-118S § 3 (part), 1999)

2.97.040 Conservation Futures Funds – Allocation.

A process is hereby established for the Council's review of the recommendations of the Committee and Board regarding the allocation of Conservation Futures Funds. Effective with calendar year 2013 and thereafter, the application and allocation process for Conservation Futures Funds shall occur on an every other year basis falling on the odd numbered years of the calendar.

A.    Each allocation year, the Department shall determine an application schedule and provide notice to all cities and towns, park districts and interested parties within Pierce County of the opportunity to nominate to the County conservation futures properties which may be purchased under the conservation futures program. Notice shall also be provided for two consecutive weeks prior to the first day applications are available for each allocation year in a daily newspaper of general circulation in Pierce County and in the official County paper.

B.    Nominations shall be submitted to the Committee each allocation year and the Committee shall forward its recommendations to the Board. The Board shall be required to hold at least one public hearing and then shall forward its recommendations to the Council for approval or modification. Notice of the Board's hearings shall be provided for two consecutive weeks in a daily newspaper of general circulation in Pierce County and in the official County paper.

C.    The Council, after holding at least one public hearing, may select from the Board's recommendations conservation futures properties which in the Council's view are to be pursued for acquisition. The Council shall allocate funds from the Conservation Futures Fund in the subsequent year's Budget for said acquisition. The Council's Resolution shall suggest the order in which the acquisitions are to be pursued.

D.    The Council may require that proposed purchase and sales agreements are to be reviewed prior to execution by the Pierce County Executive.

E.    The Council, after holding at least one public hearing on the matter, may for any reason and at any time, modify or suspend the selections being pursued by the County.

(Ord. 2012-82s § 2 (part), 2012; Ord. 2012-7 § 1, 2012; Ord. 2010-109 § 1, 2010; Ord. 98-118S § 3 (part), 1999)

2.97.050 Nomination, Application and Acquisition Requirements.

A.    The Department shall develop the forms upon which sponsors may nominate conservation futures properties for acquisition through the conservation futures program. Nomination forms shall, at a minimum, contain the following:

1.    Set forth how the conservation futures property acquisition satisfies the selection criteria in PCC 2.97.060; and

2.    Identify the intended future uses for the conservation futures property; and

3.    Identify the conservation futures properties that the conservation futures property contains as listed in PCC 2.97.030; and

4.    Be accompanied by:

a.    A Sponsor Affidavit signed by the sponsor;

b.    A Receiving Agency Affidavit signed by the receiving agency;

c.    A Leverage Statement;

d.    A copy of the current year Pierce County Assessor's tax statement showing the assessed value for that year;

e.    For each conservation futures property that seeks points under the Evaluation Category of "additional or matching funds" in Appendix A, a Letter of Opinion shall be submitted as part of the application materials; and

f.    A Willing Seller Affidavit is signed by the seller of the property.

B.    The Executive shall pursue acquisition of conservation futures properties selected by the Council in accordance with the following procedures:

1.    Prior to making an offer to purchase a conservation futures property, a Letter of Opinion shall be obtained as a guideline for establishing the purchase price.

2.    All offers to purchase conservation futures property shall be made in writing by purchase and sale agreement approved as to legal form by the Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney. In the interest of completing conservation future purchases within a reasonable period of time, the County may establish specific deadlines in each purchase and sale agreement requiring the purchase to be completed within a prescribed time frame.

3.    The Executive shall attempt to purchase each conservation futures property in the order established by the Council: PROVIDED, The Executive is authorized to stop the negotiation of a purchase and sales agreement if, in the opinion of the Executive, pursuit thereof is no longer in the public interest: PROVIDED, After such a finding, the Executive shall begin negotiation of a purchase and sales agreement for next ranked conservation futures property in the Council's Resolution: PROVIDED, Sufficient funds are available, in the opinion of the Executive, to warrant commencement of these negotiations.

4.    The Executive shall place an executed purchase and sales agreement into an escrow account chosen by the County.

5.    Any conservation futures property listed for acquisition in a Resolution adopted by the Council pursuant to this Chapter on or after January 1, 2007, shall remain eligible for purchase by the Executive until removed from the list by subsequent Council Resolution.

(Ord. 2012-82s § 2 (part), 2012; Ord. 2010-1s § 1, 2010; Ord. 2009-45s § 2 (part), 2009; Ord. 2001-59s2 § 1 (part), 2002; Ord. 2000-11 § 1, 2000; Ord. 98-118S § 3 (part), 1999)

2.97.060 Selection Criteria.

A.    Eligibility. Each conservation futures property nominated by a Sponsor must meet the following minimum criteria to be eligible for selection.

1.    At the time the conservation futures property is nominated for consideration, it must be a legal lot of record or in the case of a lesser property interest, described upon a legal lot of record;

2.    The conservation futures property shall have legal access;

3.    The general public shall be provided access to the conservation futures property in a manner that does not conflict with the conservation futures priorities of the nominated property;

4.    The conservation futures property shall not be part of a current or anticipated eminent domain process;

5.    The application shall be presented on a fully completed form which complies with the requirements of PCC 2.97.050;

6.    The conservation futures property must exhibit at least one of the Conservation Futures Priorities identified in PCC 2.97.030;

7.    The conservation futures property shall not contain structures which cannot be removed immediately after completion of the acquisition, except for structures that are deemed operationally, culturally, historically, or archeologically significant and are the focus of the conservation futures property being nominated or structures which are included in a life estate entered into when acquiring the conservation futures property;

8.    The conservation futures property shall not be less than one acre in size, unless it is contiguous to other preserved open space property that together is not less than one acre in size;

9.    If the conservation futures property is subject to an executed option, the Sponsor must provide the County with a copy of the option agreement. Regardless of the terms of the option agreement, the County will only offer to purchase the property at a price established by the County's appraisals;

10.    The conservation futures property shall not be adequately protected from development through an existing Conservation/Historic Preservation Easement; and

11.    The nomination shall include matching funds equal to 10 percent of the purchase price provided either through a cash contribution at the time of closing or an agreement by the owner of the conservation futures property to reduce the purchase price of the conservation futures property by 10 percent of the appraised value as evidenced by a written letter indicating such signed by the owner. Pierce County reserves the right to withdraw Conservation Futures funding from a project if an applicant is unable to provide additional or matching funds identified in their application at the time the County executes a purchase and sale agreement with the landowner.

B.    Verification of Open Space Priority Resources Eligibility by Committee.

1.    The Committee shall review all conservation future property applications to determine their eligibility using the minimum criteria set forth in PCC 2.97.060 A. prior to review by the Board. Only conservation futures applications deemed to have met the minimum criteria by a majority of the Committee shall be reviewed by the Board.

2.    In all cases, the Committee shall have the latitude to use its professional judgment when reviewing conservation futures property applications, but shall also strive to use a strict interpretation of the minimum criteria in PCC 2.97.060 A.

C.    The Evaluation Point System.

1.    Evaluation points may be assigned for each conservation futures application by the Board as provided for in Table 2.97.110-1 found in Appendix "A" titled "Conservation Futures Evaluation Categories and Points".

2.    The presence or occurrence of an Evaluation Category shall be verified using the definitions set forth in PCC 2.97.020.

3.    Where there is a range of points allowed in an Evaluation Category, each member of the Board may use individual discretion in the assignment of a point value for the category for the application.

D.    Scoring of the Conservation Futures Application.

1.    At least one public meeting shall be held by the Board at which the members present at that meeting shall, after examination, provide for each application, a score for each Evaluation Category based on the sponsor's application.

2.    A composite score shall be computed for each conservation futures application which will yield a ranking for that application as compared to all applications under consideration in that year and calculated as follows: (1) The points given to a conservation futures application shall be totaled; and (2) the application's totaled points shall be divided by the number of Board members present at the public meeting who scored the conservation futures application at which the review occurred.

3.    The composite score for each conservation futures application shall be used to establish an overall ranking of all conservation futures applications reviewed by the Board. Where conservation futures applications share identical scores, the Board shall establish the priority among those applications.

E.    Evaluating Intended Future Uses, Including Active Recreational Uses.

1.    The Board shall consider intended future uses identified on an application and may recommend additions to covenants and property restrictions needed to assure the preservation of the conservation futures property is consistent with the goals of this Chapter.

2.    Active recreation uses may be allowed on conservation futures properties when recommended by the Board and approved by the Council, and addressed in the covenants or property restrictions.

3.    When an application indicates active recreational uses are intended future uses of conservation futures property, the Board shall determine if such uses should be recommended for approval and shall identify the specific active recreational uses to be recommended. Applications that include proposals for active recreational uses shall include cost estimates for the development, maintenance and operation of proposed active uses.

4.    The Board may recommend that only a portion of a conservation futures property be used for active recreational use.

5.    The Board's recommendations concerning intended future uses and related covenants and property restrictions shall be included with the priority list of conservation futures properties identified by the Board pursuant to PCC 2.97.060 D. above.

6.    Any intended future use recommendations approved by the Council shall be included in the Council's resolution approving a priority order for purchase of conservation futures properties with conservation futures funds.

(Ord. 2012-82s § 2 (part), 2012; Ord. 2009-45s § 2 (part), 2009; Ord. 2001-59s2 § 1 (part), 2002; Ord. 98-118S § 3 (part), 1999)

2.97.070 Property Acquisition Costs.

A.    The Public Receiving Agency of selected conservation futures property shall bear all costs relating to property reports including, but not limited to, land surveys, hazardous materials assessment and cleanup, structural inspections and repairs; provided however, said receiving agency may waive in writing any such reports; provided further, said waiver shall be submitted to the County prior to the County beginning preliminary negotiations with a seller.

B.    The County shall charge to the conservation futures fund all buyer's closing costs directly associated with the purchase of a conservation futures property including, but not limited to, buyer's appraisal fees, buyer's title insurance premiums, preparation of conveyance and reconveyance instruments, buyer's recording fees, and buyer's escrow fees.

C.    The County may charge to the conservation futures fund such costs requested by a Non-profit Receiving Agency relating to the acquisition of eligible conservation futures properties as the Executive may deem appropriate and in the public interest; provided, that with respect to any particular conservation futures property, such acquisition costs shall not exceed 5 percent of the purchase price thereof.

D.    Costs for all notices required by this Chapter shall be paid from the conservation futures fund.

(Ord. 2012-82s § 2 (part), 2012; Ord. 2009-45s§ 2 (part), 2009; Ord. 98-118S § 3 (part), 1999)

2.97.080 Conservation Futures Covenants.

A.    The Parks and Recreation Services Department shall develop covenants and property restrictions which assure the preservation of conservation futures properties.

B.    The covenants shall run with the land, in perpetuity, and in fulfillment of the requirements necessary to protect, preserve, maintain, improve, restore, limit the future use of, or otherwise conserve wildlife habitat areas, farm, agricultural, and timber lands for the public use and enjoyment.

C.    The covenants and property restrictions shall be recorded on the title of all conservation futures properties purchased with conservation futures funds.

D.    The covenants and property restrictions shall specify that any improvements to a conservation futures property shall be limited to those which are passive in nature, or related to agriculture or forestry; provided that if the Council has approved active recreational uses for a particular conservation futures property or portion thereof, the covenants and property restrictions shall specify the active recreational uses allowed. All uses and improvements to conservation futures properties must meet the requirements and intent of RCW 84.34.200-220.

(Ord. 2012-82s § 2 (part), 2012; Ord. 2001-59s2 § 1 (part), 2002; Ord. 98-118S § 3 (part), 1999)

2.97.090 Long-Term Financial Commitments.

A.    The Board and the Council may consider long-term financial commitments of conservation futures funds for purchases of conservation futures properties.

1.    Long-term financial commitments shall be described as encumbrances against conservation futures funds that occur for two or more consecutive years.

2.    The conservation futures fund shall be reduced by all long-term financial commitments. Funds that remain shall be available for allocation under this Chapter.

3.    The Council may withdraw any purchase and sale agreement that incorporates the use of long-term financial commitments.

4.    The Council may specify sources of partial or full funding for long-term financial commitments.

5.    The Council shall return any withdrawn long-term financial commitment funds to the conservation futures funds for subsequent allocation under this Chapter.

(Ord. 2012-82s § 2 (part), 2012; Ord. 98-118S § 3 (part), 1999)

2.97.100 Property Management Authority.

A.    When conservation futures funds are appropriated to purchase an eligible property with the intention that the County shall hold the title thereto, the Property Manager shall be the Director of Parks and Recreation Services or their designee.

B.    When conservation futures funds are appropriated to purchase an eligible property with the intention that title to said property be held by a Non-profit Receiving Agency, it shall be that agency's responsibility to manage the conservation futures property.

C.    The County may enter into interlocal agreements with nonprofit historic preservation corporations as defined in RCW 64.04.130 or nonprofit nature conservancy corporations as defined in RCW 84.34.250 for the purpose of management of the conservation futures covenants and other property restrictions provided for in this Chapter.

D.    The Department will develop a plan and program to inspect all properties acquired with Conservation Futures Funds to assure that conservation easements and covenants are maintained.

(Ord. 2012-82s § 2 (part), 2012; Ord. 98-118S § 3 (part), 1999)

2.97.110 Conservation Futures Opportunity Account.

Pierce County recognizes the importance of having the flexibility to pursue the purchase of exceptional conservation futures properties using conservation futures funds which become available outside of the normal selection process outlined in PCC 2.97.040 and establishes a Conservation Futures Opportunity Account using an allocation from Conservation Futures Fund to acquire such properties. Acquisitions of conservation futures properties using funds from the Conservation Futures Opportunity Account shall be selected and approved using the procedure outlined in this Section.

A.    Each year through adoption of the County annual budget, the Executive shall propose and the Council shall consider allocating an amount of not more than $250,000 from the Conservation Futures Fund to be reserved for possible acquisition of exceptional open space properties selected and approved under PCC 2.97.110. At the end of the budget year, any unused funds in the Conservation Futures Opportunity Account shall be carried over to subsequent years and shall be allowed to accumulate a fund balance not to exceed $2,000,000 subordinate to all debt.

B.    All properties purchased through the Conservation Futures Opportunity Account shall utilize the following selection process:

1.    Within three weeks of notification from the Executive of a proposal to fund a conservation futures property through the Opportunity Account, the Board shall hold a public meeting to evaluate the proposal using the evaluation categories in Table 2.97.110-1 and make a recommendation to the Council on the proposal.

2.    The Executive shall submit for Council approval a resolution outlining the exceptional opportunity at hand; specific details of the proposed purchase; and certification the property meets the requirements of PCC 2.97.110 C.

3.    Upon approval of the resolution, the Executive shall be authorized to acquire the property in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 2.97 PCC.

C.    All properties purchased using the Conservation Futures Opportunity Account shall meet the following criteria:

1.    The property shall meet the minimum eligibility requirements in PCC 2.97.060 A. as determined by the Department.

2.    The property shall be under sufficient threat of immediate development or financial distress which would preclude it from being considered in the next regular application and award cycle called for in PCC 2.97.040 or additional secured matching funds provided by a third party for use in purchasing the property are under immediate threat of expiring prior to the next regular application and award cycle called for in PCC 2.97.040.

D.    Once all funds in the Conservation Futures Opportunity Account are utilized, no further purchases shall be authorized under PCC 2.97.110 until such time as the Council appropriates additional funds by ordinance.

(Ord. 2012-82s § 2 (part), 2012)

APPENDIX "A"

Table 2.97.110-1. Conservation Futures Evaluation Categories and Points

Categories

Points

CONSERVATION VALUES

(60% of available points)

The value of the primary Conservation Futures priority (listed in PCC 2.97.030) identified on the application.

0 to 30 points

The value of the secondary Conservation Futures priority (listed in PCC 2.97.030) identified on the application.

0 to 15 points

The value of the tertiary Conservation Futures priority (listed in PCC 2.97.030) identified on the application.

0 to 5 points

Acquisition of the Conservation Futures property is supported by other environmental goals.

0 to 5 points

The proposed use of the property, as outlined in the Sponsor's application, is compatible with the Conservation Futures priority(s) identified on the property.

0 to 5 points

PROGRAM GOALS

(25% of available points)

The Conservation Futures property is within a designated Urban Growth Area (UGA).

5 points

The Conservation Futures property is 40 acres or greater in area.

0 to 5 points

The Conservation Futures property is contiguous with (abuts) or creates linkage with another preserved open space property.

0 to 5 points

The Conservation Futures property is threatened by development as defined in PCC 2.97.020.

0 to 5 points

The Conservation Futures property is designated Agricultural Resource Land.

5 points

MATCHING FUNDS

(15% of available points)

*Additional or matching funds are available and can be applied toward the purchase of the conservation futures property. (1 point for every 4 percent greater than 10 percent, up to a maximum of 10 points )

0 to 10 points

*Additional or matching funds are provided by a private funding source rather than a public funding source, or additional or matching funds are secured at the time of application either through cash or a funded grant award.

0 to 5 points

* Pierce County reserves the right to withdraw Conservation Futures funding from a project if an applicant is unable to provide additional or matching funds identified in their application at the time the County begins negotiating with the landowner.

(Ord. 2012-82s § 2 (part), 2012; Ord. 2009-45s § 2 (part); 2009; 2004-112s § 1 (part), 2004; Ord. 98-118S § 3 (part), 1999)