The Okanogan County commissioners and the public are getting another look at the county’s comprehensive plan — in particular, its policies regarding water quality and quantity.
The county commissioners adopted a new comp plan in 2014, but it was quickly challenged in court by the Methow Valley Citizens Council and Futurewise. The lawsuit claimed the plan fails to protect water quality, doesn’t address wildfire risk, and doesn’t protect wildlife habitat.
With two new commissioners on the board this year, all three commissioners committed to reviewing the comp plan and to look at it with a new set of eyes to see if there are “places where we can make improvements,” said County Commissioner Andy Hover in April.
In a stipulated agreement, the commissioners have agreed to review the comprehensive plan with an eye toward how effectively it protects water.
People’s comments should be directed to specific sections of the plan, such as adding or deleting passages or proposing revisions to accomplish desired goals or address perceived shortcomings. Input will be considered when the county drafts proposed revisions.
All proposed revisions to the plan will undergo a public review, including an assessment of the potential for the plan to affect the environment. The commissioners intend to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) for the revised plan, which would include a scoping period where the public and agencies can recommend topics they’d like to see addressed. People will also be able to comment on the EIS itself.
The planning commission will hold public hearings on the proposed changes, probably in early 2018. The county commissioners will conduct their own review of the plan before adoption.
People can submit written comments to Roxanna King at firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments received by Oct. 13 will be considered in the initial drafting of proposed revisions.
The county’s current comp plan and maps, plus special sections that address the Methow Valley, are online at www.okanogancounty.org/planning (see Comprehensive Plan 12/22/2014).
For more information, contact Okanogan County Planning Director Perry Huston at (509) 422-7118 or email@example.com.