The Okanogan County commissioners approved a six-month moratorium on the issuance of building permits on lots in the Methow watershed created by subdivisions since a 2002 state Supreme Court ruling. The court ruling said that subdivisions creating multiple lots must be served by a group-domestic well system and a water right. The moratorium was adopted unanimously on Feb. 10.
About 230 parcels are affected by the ban, which covers all lots that would rely on the Methow River for water. The moratorium puts the situation in perspective for property owners and prospective developers, Okanogan County Commissioner Chris Branch said.
The ban was approved after the commissioners voted to take legal action against the state Department of Ecology, seeking a ruling to clarify whether people can build on these lots and use supply their house with a well.
The commissioners said they hope they’ll have a court ruling on the issue in less than six months.
Because it was adopted on an interim basis, the commissioners must hold a public hearing on the ordinance. The hearing on ordinance 2021-003 has been set for Monday, April 5, at 1:30 p.m.