The new lease group has made a lot of progress this past year. We studied prior negotiations and determined that one major fault was the failure to address the rights included in the current subleases under which we all hold our lots. We have been advised by our legal consultants that we cannot force anyone to relinquish their current sublease.
To address this problem, we produced a proposal to create a new lease that runs in parallel with the current lease/subleases. This concept was presented to our Swinomish partners from the Senate and their legal department. This proposal would allow for current sublease holders to stay on their current subleases or move to a new 75-year lease. While a new lease would most likely have higher rates than the current lease, the new lease would be more desirable due to its longer term.
This is a novel concept that required a lot of discussion with our attorney. We finally reached a point where both the Swinomish and Shelter Bay teams thought the parallel lease concept might work. The next hurdle was to discuss the concept with the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA).
Our group had an initial meeting with BIA officials in November and presented the parallel lease concept to them. This is a unique proposal, and it isn’t apparent how it fits into their current lease models. By the end of the meeting, we had made enough progress that they wanted to bring the idea to their solicitors (attorneys). We are working to get that meeting scheduled.
If all parties in these negotiations can come to some agreement on the parallel lease idea, then we can move to valuation and operational issues. Our goal is to make a new lease available in 2024. As new information is known, we will update the Shelter Bay residents accordingly.