A historic dairy farm just off Highway 530 in Arlington was recently rescued from development with a unique project to untangle a host of legal issues, including a delinquent bank note and foreclosure judgment, that had tied development and use of the farm up for years.
The farm, formerly Faber Dairy, was sold for development before the last real estate bubble and was already platted, permitted and physically prepared for development. Forterra, Snohomish Conservation District, Snohomish County, City of Arlington and the Washington State Conservation Commission formed a partnership to return the prime farmland to its use as agricultural land. That work was successfully completed on December 15, 2015.
A local third-generation farmer, Andrew Albert, will be farming the land, which sits in the floodplain of the Stillaguamish River west of Arlington. Albert started a farm-to-consumer hay business in 2003 with fewer than 100 acres and now farms more than 1000 acres, including 600 acres of grass. The protection of 140 acres of highly productive agricultural land by avoiding the development of 13 residences, their septic systems and residential application of fertilizers and pesticides will help avoid risks of potential water contamination during flood events and help protect the shellfish beds in Port Susan and South Skagit Bay. The Snohomish Conservation District is excited to be part of this special opportunity to preserve valuable agriculture land in the Stillaguamish Valley. Hats off to all these groups for their efforts!