FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Last Updated- March 22, 2023
What is the proposed Agriculture Advancement Campus?
The Port envisions a 184-acre campus on SW Old Wawawai Road near US 195 that will help create jobs, grow local businesses, and bring our agricultural industry into a new era. The Port will design the campus to attract industry innovators and facilitate synergy among economic developers and talent from the region’s two land-grant research universities, supporting Palouse’s agricultural economy and creating significant economic benefits for the region.
How will it benefit our community and region?
Additional jobs and economic vitality will be supported by tenant businesses located at the campus.
What has been the process to create the proposed campus?
Consistent with the Port’s mission to facilitate economic development in Whitman County, the Port manages the Pullman Industrial Park just off State Highway 27. The success of that park has made the Port interested in developing another campus-like hub for related businesses.
The Port first began discussing a public-private partnership with AgTech OS in November 2022. The company presented its concept at the Port’s November 3 public Commission meeting. On November 17, the Commission discussed applying for a $5 million CERB loan at its public meeting. The loan requires a committed private partner, a requirement AgTech’s involvement would satisfy.
The Commission again discussed the potential public-private partnership and adopted a resolution to apply for a loan from the Washington State Community Economic Revitalization Board at the December 1 public Commission meeting. On January 5, 2023, AgTech OS presented a second time in a public Commission meeting. The Port applied for and was awarded a $5 million loan from CERB in January 2023. The Port also began the process to purchase 184 acres on SW Old Waiwawai Road in January 2023.
On March 2, the Port submitted a rezoning application to the City of Pullman to zone the portion of the campus within the City of Pullman. The following additional documents have been submitted to the City of Pullman as part of the rezoning process:
On March 22, the Port confirmed that it is continuing with the process to rezone 88 acres on SW Old Wawawai Road in Pullman for an Industrial Research Park after private partner AgTech OS announced March 21 that it would seek an alternate location for its biofuel facility.
What’s the Port’s role with the Agriculture Advancement Campus?
The Port’s role in the project, consistent with its mission and abilities under state law, is facilitating the acquisition of property within Whitman County and making the necessary public infrastructure improvements. The public infrastructure will include roads, sewer, water, electrical and telecommunications to serve the private sector buildings.
Businesses would be able to lease or purchase land within the campus from the Port. Money from these sales and leases would recoup the Port’s investment in developing the campus, help maintain the campus, and be put toward other economic development activities.
Why is the Port requesting the rezoning of a portion of the property?
The Port of Whitman County is currently in the negotiations and due diligence stage; the property purchase for 184 acres on SW Old Waiwawai Road is not final.
On March 2, the Port requested that the 88 acres of the property within the City of Pullman be rezoned to commercial and Industrial Research Park (IRP). If the rezoning request is approved, the Port plans to use the commercial portion of the property as a buffer between industrial operations and nearby Pullman residences. PDF of Draft Preliminary Site Plan (image at right).
What is the timeline?
The process to purchase property for the campus, rezone a portion, apply for permits and build infrastructure could take up to two years.
In the immediate timeframe – early 2023 – much of the timing depends on the property purchase negotiations and rezoning request. If the property purchase moves quickly, the planning, engineering and permitting could take place in summer 2023. The Port also must move through the City of Pullman rezoning process and the state environmental permitting process for the entire 184-acre campus. Private-sector businesses that lease or purchase land in the campus must also apply for and receive local, state and federal permits before construction can begin.
How will the port share information with the community?
We are publishing information on our website, sending news releases to media and providing interviews, sending e-newsletters, and sharing information via our community partners, such as the Pullman Chamber of Commerce.
We encourage you to attend our public Commission meetings and provide your comments during the public comment period. You may also send comments which will be distributed to the commission via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and via mail at 302 N. Mill Street, Colfax, WA 99111.
There will be at least two public comment opportunities with the City of Pullman and the State of Washington through the rezoning and environmental permitting processes. Stay tuned here and visit the City Community Development web page for public hearing notices.
How will this proposed project be funded?
The Port is matching the $5 million CERB loan it received in January for the land purchase, site preparation and utility construction with $1.25 million from its general fund.