New ‘opportunities’

Dear Editor:

As a small farmer living and working in Carlton, I am writing to express my enthusiasm for the proposed changes to the comprehensive plan and interim zoning ordinance put forth by the county. As written, the plan zones most of the lower Methow below Gold Creek as “Zone 1 Rural,” allowing for a host of new land-use activities on lots as small as 1 acre.

Some of the new opportunities our rural friends and families will be allowed to pursue in the lower Methow (and other areas of the county proposed for R-1 zoning) include, but are not limited to, aircraft sales and services as well as airstrips and hangers. Yes! No more excuses not to bid on those Boeing service contracts, just think of the jobs! If that’s not your skill set, how about a new parking garage? With the price of parking at SeaTac, a local park-and-fly could really be a gold mine, with jobs for unskilled teen labor as well.

Still not feeling inspired? How about a new hospital? Now that we have all been forced to get insurance by Big Brother, why not take advantage of this situation with an urgent care clinic on French Creek? Or to appeal to the local fitness fanatics that just can’t decide between mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding, skiing, snowmobiling, or any of those other boring ways to exercise, why not open an “exercise club” or “indoor swimming pool,” both which would be allowed by the new zoning designation. And that’s just a small sample of some of the new opportunities we’ll have.

Now for those of you seeking to engage in agricultural pursuits in areas that fall under R-1, you may want to think again. As written, the new comp plan is unclear as to whether or not agricultural activities will even be allowed in these zones. And if I get my new water park approved on Gold Creek as a “swimming pool,” I may need a little of that water you’re using for those apple orchards or hay fields.

Eric Wittenbach, Carlton

ATV issues

Dear Editor:

Re: “Okanogan County commissioners Propose to open 600 miles of county roads to ATVs.” Did you know:

• “If ATVs could be kept off public roads, as urged by Specialty Vehicle Institute of America [a manufacturers’ trade group] … a large percentage of ATV-related injuries and deaths would be prevented.”

• “ATVs are not designed for use on paved roads, period. That’s just a fact.” — Russ Ehnes, executive director National Off-highway Vehicle Conservation Council (off-road user group based in Montana).

• “Many ATVs can reach highway speeds, but their low-pressure tires aren’t designed for paved roads. Rollovers are also a risk.” — Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Status Report No. 9, Dec. 19, 2013.

• If roads are opened, unlicensed children can ride their own ATVs under the “supervision” of an 18-year-old (HB 1632, section 16).

• Illegal riding damages public and private land.

Make your voice heard! Send your comments by (Monday) June 16 to:

This message brought to you by the Methow Valley Citizens’ Council.

Phil Millam, Winthrop

Tell county what you think

Dear Editor:

The Methow Valley Citizens’ Council recently appealed Okanogan County’s decision not to conduct an environmental impact statement (EIS) on the proposed county comprehensive plan and interim zoning ordinance, which will direct future growth in the Methow and in our county. Given what the county is proposing in these measures, over seven years in the making, their implementation will have a very significant and adverse impact on the environment and quality of life in our valley.

We strongly encourage you to show county officials that public opinion supports a more thoughtful approach to planning for the future of our land, resources and communities. Please consider adding your influence to the process by mailing or emailing your comments by 5 p.m. on Monday (June 16) to Perry Huston, Planning Director, 123 Fifth Ave. N., Suite 130, Okanogan, WA; email

The rationale for the following key points may be found at

• The county should conduct an EIS on these critically important measures.

• The comprehensive plan should clearly specify what actions will be taken to ensure adequate water supply for the density it envisions.

• The plan should enumerate specific protections for groundwater resources. Uses incompatible with groundwater protection should not be allowed.

• It is a step in the right direction that the county has kept the existing zoning for the Upper and Middle Methow Valley intact for now. The Methow Completely Planned Area should be included as part of this comprehensive plan and should be legally defensible, up to date, and consistent with the vision of the Methow Review District zoning.

• The plan should provide a concrete schedule for creation of a “More Completely Planned Area (CPA)” for the Lower Methow Valley (south of Gold Creek).

• Contradictory elements of the comprehensive plan, zoning ordinance and supporting documents need reconciliation, and definitions provided, before adoption of these plans.

• The past, present and future role of individual citizens, advisory groups and communities in shaping the comprehensive plan should be recognized and respected by county officials.

Thanks for being involved!

Maggie Coon, Board chair, Methow Valley Citizens’ Council

Art Walk was great

Dear Editor:

We would like to congratulate TwispWorks and Methow Arts for putting on a successful, fun and engaging Art Walk event. It was a treat to see all who came to downtown Twisp to see what was going on and participate in all the events, while strolling along Glover Street and into downtown businesses. It was a great opportunity to showcase what is happening on “Main Street” Twisp and a boost to the local economy. Blocking off Glover Street gave locals and non-locals alike an opportunity to slow down and take a closer look at what local businesses have to offer. Thank you to all who participated and to the Town of Twisp for its support!

Janelle Delfino, Glover Street Market, Twisp