By Ann McCreary
Public comment will be accepted until Sept. 24 on a proposal to build a house on the 100-year floodplain in Twisp.
An application for a floodplain development permit has been submitted to the town by Pete and Jennifer Day of Twisp, who propose building a single-family residence on an undeveloped parcel across Highway 20 from the Idle-A-While Motel. The property is just upstream from where the Twisp River enters the Methow River.
Because the proposed construction would take place in shoreline and critical areas and within the floodplain, the development must comply with the town’s flood damage prevention ordinance. That would require that “the first habitable floor is one foot above the 100-year flood level,” said Kurt Danison, Twisp town planner.
The town’s critical areas zoning ordinance, which regulates development in the floodplain, states a “preference not to build in it,” but relies on the town’s flood damage prevention ordinance to guide construction in the floodplain “if certain mitigation standards are met,” Danison said.
The property owners hired a Wenatchee environmental consulting firm to conduct a critical areas analysis, including determining the presence of wetlands and appropriate buffer zones for wetlands.
“Basically it identified one spot on the property that met all the critical areas regulations,” Danison said.
The property owners also conducted a State Environmental Protection Act (SEPA) checklist for the proposed development.
The proposed house would have a 1,000-square-foot footprint. An old roadbed leading east off Highway 20 to the building site would be improved and 200 yards of gravel would be needed for the road improvement, according to documents on file in Twisp Town Hall.
To comply with the town’s flood damage prevention ordinance, the house would have to be elevated on stilts or have a foundation wall with openings that could be opened in a flood event, Danison said.
The property is in a single-family, high-density residential zone.
The proposed development prompted concerns by Methow Valley Citizens Council (MVCC), which planned to submit comments, said Lorah Super, MVCC director of operations and communications.
“It would be a precedent of concern, allowing construction in the floodplain,” Super said.
After the comment period closes on Sept. 24, Danison will have 10 days to make a decision about whether to issue a floodplain development permit and make a SEPA determination.
“I expect by the end of the month the town will make a decision with conditions or deny it,” Danison said. An appeal period follows the planner’s decision, he said.
Project information is available at Town Hall. Comments are due by 4 p.m. on Sept. 24.