PORT TOWNSEND — SEA Marine’s general manager is eyeing the Port of Port Townsend’s Back 40 at Point Hudson and discussed his frustration with the port during a discussion on creating a leasing policy.
Chris Bakken told port commissioners during a discussion on a proposed leasing policy Wednesday that he wants the parking lot for expansion of his full-service boatyard that’s been in continuous operation for 46 years and that the expansion plan for SEA Marine, which is at 419 Jackson St., has been on the table with the Port of Port Townsend since 2015.
Port of Port Townsend commissioners will conduct a second reading and vote on the proposed leasing policy at their next meeting at 1 p.m. June 12 at the port commission building, 333 Benedict St., Port Townsend.
“The leasing policy is an overall road map for the port,” said Interim Executive Director Jim Pivarnik.
“We never really had one before,” he said. “With the help of an advisory committee composed of marine trades, bankers, real estate brokers and others we developed a leasing policy that will be a guide for port staff.
The policy spells out terms, fair market rates, CPI yearly increases, a property appraisal every five years, and a change to three-month deposits.
“In the past rules and regulations had been done in an ad hoc way, depending on the tenant and their history,” he said. “This document provides a road map on how how our new leasing administrator will negotiate leases.”
Bakken said he wants to lease the approximately 1.5-acre property for dryland storage and other business opportunities. The proposal includes 56 parking spaces.
“We are asking for a fair and competitive lease on land that has not generated any port revenue for many years,” Bakken said.
“Land that is specifically zoned and designated for marine use, accepted and supported by the community. It has been called out in at least three different strategic plans prepared over the last 30 years.”
Pivarnik called the Back 40, “the last great open space in downtown Port Townsend.”
“Currently U.S. Fish and Wildlife staff has 17 dedicated spaces in the lot and Puget Sound Express uses the space for customer parking,” Pivarnik said. “The Rhody carnival used the ‘Back 40’ as a staging area. The Wooden Boat Festival uses it for vendors.”
“Until the city of Port Townsend can come up with a comprehensive parking plan for downtown, no one is looking to change the parking situation at Point Hudson,” Pivarnik said.
“We are open to working on this with Chris and seeing what can be done at this point.”
Deputy Director Eric Toews said the leasing policy would contain a a new provision for “holdover tenants,” those who do not execute a new lease before the expiration of the term of their current lease.
He said if that were to occur, the lease rate would automatically escalate by 25 percent to 125 percent of the amount paid in the last month of the lease term.
Commissioner Steve Tucker said that parking at Boat Haven, along with Point Hudson, is a big issue and called on port staff to create a parking policy because, for many lease holders, there is no mention of parking in their current leases.
“We need to create a citizen advisory board and have them look at this issue as their first task,” he said.
To manage the relationship with tenants, Pivarnik announced that executive assistant Sue Nelson has been named to the newly created position of lease and contract administrator. Nelson has been with the port for almost 18 years and has developed relationships with tenants over time.
Jefferson County Reporter Jeannie McMacken can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at [email protected].