Okanogan County’s approval of two applications to subdivide property in the Methow have been contested because the appellants claim the county hasn’t required the applicants to prove that they have a legal right to water for a house on each new lot.
In separate appeals to the county’s hearing examiner, the Methow Valley Citizens Council (MVCC) and the Methow Valley Irrigation District (MVID) both challenged the county’s approval of plans by Vaughn Jolley to split 33.5 acres on Alder Road, 1 mile south of Twisp, into two lots: one at 5 acres and one at 28.5 acres.
Only MVCC appealed the county’s approval of plans by Mark and Eden Ludwig to divide 11.3 acres on Twisp-Carlton Road, about 2 miles north of Carlton, into two parcels.
MVCC made the same argument about both proposed subdivisions — that, since each applicant “proposes to use permit-exempt wells for two lots, two homes, and two households, it is not a single domestic use under [the Methow watershed rule].”
MVCC says that the county’s approval of Jolley’s subdivision violates a temporary ban on subdivisions in the Methow watershed adopted by the commissioners in December, so that they could study water availability to be sure that all development has a legal and physical water supply. The ban cites recent court rulings and decisions by the Department of Ecology.
MVCC’s appeals claim that, by dividing the land into two lots, both Jolley and Ludwig would be creating a group-domestic system. The property owners can go ahead with the projects if they can secure a water source that meets state regulations, MVCC said.
The Methow Valley Irrigation District includes Jolley’s property. MVID rules prohibit subdivisions within its district boundaries unless the applicant builds irrigation infrastructure to serve the new plat and any properties beyond it. Although the county’s approval of Jolley’s subdivision required him to take the steps to create the irrigation infrastructure, it didn’t require that the infrastructure be built, according to the appeal.
MVCC is also challenging an exception in the county’s subdivision ban that allows a property owner with an existing house to subdivide and create one new lot that would be served by a new well. MVCC says this exception violates Ecology’s regulations for the Methow watershed.
Neither Jolley nor the Ludwigs could be reached for comment.
The date for the hearing examiner to consider the appeals has not been set.