The Winthrop Town Council has signed off on agreement under which the Winthrop Auditorium Association will continue to operate the Winthrop Barn.

Rick Northcott, president of the auditorium association, told the Town Council last week that the association’s board of directors is also prepared to approve the agreement.

With both parties on board to accept the one-year contract, the long-running negotiations over the operating agreement are seemingly at an end.

A 25-year agreement between the town and the association expired in May 2017. The association approached the town with a proposed five-year agreement in January of this year, and discussions have been going back-and-forth since.

At last week’s Town Council meeting, Winthrop Mayor Sally Ranzau said she endorsed what “we feel is a good agreement.” Northcott said that the last few minor hurdles had been cleared to the auditorium board’s satisfaction.

In other business at last week’s meeting, the council took action to include a proposed housing development adjacent to Cascade Condominiums in the town’s water service area. Richard Hamel proposes to create 10 lots on the 9.56-acre property.

The property was not included in the town’s 2011 Water System Plan, based on a 2009 decision not supply water to the Sukovaty Annexation, which includes Hamel’s property, Town Planner Rocklynn Culp told the council in a memo.

When Hamel recently began to firm up plans to develop the property, he was told that Okanogan County would not allow a Group B well system to serve the property because of implications of the Hirst decision — which pretty much left the town as his only option.

Culp said that after meetings involving town officials and Hamel’s consultant, Chris Johnson, and a review of applicable regulations and the town’s water capacity, “we have agreed that the Town should supply water to the Mt. Gardner Heights subdivision.” She also noted that the town is extending a new water line through the property.

Culp said that decision would require amending the original preliminary long plat approval, which came with requirements the developer must meet. The council OKed the amended approval. Additionally, Culp said, the town will need to amend its Water System Plan to include the subdivision. She told the council that town representatives are meeting with the state Department of Health “to define the exact scope of the amendments that will be required.”

Ranzau also reported that a fourth potential member of the Westernization Design Review Board had decided not to seek an appointment (WDRB) to the group, which oversees application of the town’s Westernization ordinance.

Several members of the WDRB recently resigned, leaving the board with only one member. Two additions have brought membership up to three. By ordinance, the WDRB must have at least four members. In the absence of a functioning WDRB, the Planning Commission has temporarily taken over the board’s responsibilities for administrating the Westernization ordinance.