DNR to Begin Transition of Orchard on State Lands in Richland
News Date: 
December 29, 2020

Changes in Lease Activity to Increase Funding for Schools, City Revenue

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will begin to transition a leased orchard on state trust lands within the Richland city limits into future lots for development beginning in early January.
The City of Richland rezoned the lots approximately two years ago from agriculture to commercial, residential, and public uses. The lots are in the area of Queensgate Drive and Duportail Street, on the southwest border between Richland and West Richland.
“These parcel transfers and leases will be a win for the Tri-Cities, our schools and taxpayers,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, the elected official who oversees DNR. “State trust lands raise much-needed revenue for our schools, and these parcels will continue to do so for future generations while also allowing the Tri-Cities area to continue to develop and grow.”
This property is currently leased as an agricultural orchard. The orchard is reaching the end of its useful life and the lessee has informed DNR they will not seek to renew the orchard lease.
DNR will continue to lease two of the new lots zoned for commercial development. One lot is zoned for school development, and another lot is designated to become a City of Richland park. The remaining six parcels are zoned for a variety of residential uses and will begin to be prepared for public auction.
The 300-plus-acre tract of land where these parcels sit is among the millions of acres granted to Washington at statehood by Congress in 1889 to provide revenue to support school construction throughout the state. This once-rural agricultural land is now surrounded by development on all sides in the heart of the booming Tri-Cities.
Revenue from the leases on the parcels DNR is retaining will continue to provide nontax revenue for school construction across Washington state. The money received from the sales and transfers of the other lots will be used to acquire other properties elsewhere that are better suited for generating revenue to support building schools. Additionally, the rezoning and development of these parcels will grow the property tax base for local services.
DNR will begin removing the orchard trees following the expiration of the lease December 31. The public will notice increased activity at the site during this time.
A photo and map of the property are available at https://deptofnaturalresources.box.com/v/Richland16Map.
Ryan Rodruck
Communications Manager
Cell: 360-706-3121
Robin Hammill
Property and Acquisition Specialist