Port of Port Townsend, City Finalize Land Swap

By Charlie Bermant, July 29, 2013, Peninsula Daily News

Peninsula Daily News

An agreement to exchange property between the city of Port Townsend and the Port of Port Townsend has been finalized with the signing of title transfers, and the deed transfers were submitted to the Jefferson County Auditor last week.

“This makes perfect sense,” said Deputy Port Director Jim Pivarnik.

“The port has the waterfront, and the city has the parks,” he said.

The port has deeded to the city about 20 acres of property in the vicinity of Kah Tai Lagoon, land the city will use for inclusion in its Kah Tai Lagoon Nature Park.

The city has deeded to the port the City Dock — not including Pope Marine Park and Union Wharf, and vacating streets at Madison Street and the Boat Haven.

Both City Manager David Timmons and Port Director Larry Crockett said that the agreement allows them to streamline their operations, since port staff are no longer being charged with managing a portion of the park and the city does not have to manage three docks.

The transfer puts to rest an October 2011 lawsuit by the port against the city that sought to clarify the ownership of the 20-acre section of the 78.5-acre park in order to determine how it could be developed in the future.

With the title transfer, the park’s status as a nature preserve will continue in perpetuity, both sides say.

Pivarnik said the lawsuit, now in U.S. District Court, will be withdrawn soon.

“There are no conflicts,” he said.

“Everyone has already agreed to in theory but we need to sign off on the dismissal,” he said.

The transfer process took longer than expected because of title issues and the need to clarify the ownership of several small land parcels owned by the city but had not been registered at the auditor’s office, according to Timmons.

Timmons said that no changes are forthcoming since the port and the city have already traded management duties of the respective properties.

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