At its meeting last week, the Twisp Town Council did some reordering of priorities for the Planning Commission to work on this year.
Earlier the council had reviewed a proposed 2020 work plan submitted by Planning Commission Chairman John Battle and suggested some tweaks. The council considered a revised document from Battle last week and liked the four major topics the Planning Commission identified — but had some different ideas about how to prioritize them.
In fact, the work areas ranked third and fourth in priority by the Planning Commission emerged as the council’s first and second choices for emphasis, respectively.
The less-glamorous but more necessary work the council ranked first is review and detailed update of the town’s development permitting procedures, which will include checking for conflicts with the Twisp Development Standards Manual. Per the council’s earlier request, the commission added “potential modification of notice requirements related to changes in land use or structures when such activities abut an incompatible zone (e.g., commercial abutting residential).”
Ranked second in the council’s new order is reviewing and possibly modifying the town’s sign code — likely to be a higher-profile discussion topic. A few years back, the council considered sign code changes but backed away from the complex issue.
Council member Hans Smith said the sign code review “may need more immediate attention” than some of the other items and that he would like to see it ranked higher among the commission’s priorities. “It’s been a dormant discussion for some time,” he said.
Mayor Soo Ing-Moody supported that idea, adding that the town should review how other similar municipalities have handled sign code challenges.
The Planning Commission’s stated No. 1 priority, review and updating of the town’s comprehensive plan, is now No. 3. The original No. 3 priority, now No. 4, is review and possible amendment of the town’s zoning code.
No matter how they are ranked, the tasks before the Planning Commission will require considerable effort.
“It’s a lot to chew on,” Ing-Moody said of the Planning Commission’s 2020 agenda. “There’s a lot of work that needs to be done under every bullet point. It will take a year do deal with them all.”
Ing-Moody said the council’s actions will provide “more clarity” for the commission’s work.