Studded tires must be off

First came Daylight Saving Time. Now — and by that, we mean now — it’s time to remove studded tires, which must by off your vehicles by Thursday (March 31). Under state law, driving with studded tires after March 31 is a traffic infraction that could result in a $124 ticket from law enforcement.

In addition, studs can wear down pavement, so removing them promptly helps extend the lifetime of state roadways, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation.

Washington and Oregon share the same studded tire removal date. Other states may have later deadlines, but the Washington law applies to all drivers in the state, even visitors. No personal exemptions or waivers are issued.

Application for septic variance

A property owner on East Chewuch Road has applied for permission to use an individual holding-tank sewage system, which requires a variance from Okanogan County’s on-site sewage regulation.

Tom and Tawnyel Gibbons’ property is on Cottenwood Lane, 9 miles north of Winthrop, and is too small to accommodate both a well and discharging septic system, according to Dave Hilton, environmental health director for Okanogan County.

Holding tanks are not allowed for residential use without a variance. They are considered temporary and the property therefore cannot be used more than 60 days per year, according to Hilton.

The holding tank would have to be pumped out at certain intervals depending on use. If approved, it would have audible and visual high-water alarms to prevent overfilling, said Hilton.

Other property owners in the Cottenwood Lane area, which is adjacent to the Chewuch River, have also applied for septic-system variances in the past year. Holding tanks protect the high water table in the area and address issues of sewage-disposal density, said Hilton.

The Gibbonses’ existing drain field was apparently installed without a septic permit, said Hilton. Their sewage application was denied because of the lot size, resulting in the variance process, he said.

For more information, contact Okanogan County Public Health at (509) 422-7140. Comments can be submitted to

Member sought for tourism-promotions group

The Okanogan County commissioners are seeking a member for the county’s Lodging Tax Advisory Committee (LTAC), which makes recommendations for funding to promote tourism.

The board member must be from District 2, which includes the Methow Valley, and must be a “receiver” of the tourism-promotions funds, such as from a theater or gallery that uses these funds to attract tourists to their events. To qualify as a receiver, the individual must have submitted an application in 2015 for 2016 tourism funding.

LTAC evaluates applications from nonprofits (such as concert organizers, visitors’ information centers, and antique car shows) for grants to market their activities. The nonprofits must match the grants with their own expenditures on advertising. The county commissioners make the final approval after reviewing LTAC’s recommendations.

The seven-member LTAC consists of one “collector” (someone from a hotel or motel who collects the 2-percent tax on lodging) and one “receiver” (someone from a nonprofit that uses these funds to attract tourists) from each of the county’s three districts, plus one of the county commissioners.

Letters of interest should be sent to Kathleen Descoteaux in the commissioners’ office at For more information, call (509) 422-7100.