State senators question deal limiting shoreline development

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SEATTLE (AP) — Two Washington state senators have asked the state auditor to investigate a Hood Canal land deal with the Navy that did not meet a previous appraised value.

The Seattle Times reports State Senators Tim Sheldon and Mark Miloscia sent a letter to Acting State Auditor Jan Jutte questioning the low lease price on state aquatic bedlands.

In June, The Times reported that Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark’s Department of Natural Resources accepted a $720,000 offer in 2014 from the Navy for 50-year control of 4,804 acres of Hood Canal seafloor.

An earlier, independent, state-approved appraisal valued the lease at $1.68 million.

The $720,000 value allowed the Navy to avoid congressional scrutiny of the deal. Goldmark agreed to that price despite state law requiring DNR obtain fair-market value for the seafloor.

On Friday, Natural Resources spokeswoman Sandra Kaiser said the state’s appraisal practices were upheld by a Jefferson County Superior Court judge.