By Marcy Stamper
The town of Winthrop will ask the engineers who designed the crosswalk from the Susie Stephens trail on Highway 20 to look at the feasibility of moving the crossing about 15 feet north so that it’s closer to the Virginian Resort and not on Virginian Circle Road, an unimproved town street between the Virginian cabins and Pardner’s Mini Market. The council made the decision at its meeting on Sept. 15.
Plans for the crosswalk were drawn up nine years ago. The town finally has the money to pay for it and has acquired access on the west side of Highway 20, Public Works Superintendent Jeff Sarvis said after the meeting.
Bart Bradshaw, who owns Pardner’s, said when he looked at what the plans would mean on the ground, rather than just on paper, it appeared the crosswalk would block about 30 feet of Virginian Circle Road, which provides access to several businesses. The road is often used by large trucks and RVs for turning around, and Pardner’s patrons sometimes line up there on busy weekend days, Bradshaw said.
Bradshaw proposed moving the crosswalk so it would be north of that street, between a fire hydrant and the Virginian. The town council passed a motion to determine if it’s feasible to move the crosswalk, which would require permission from the Washington State Department of Transportation to use their right-of-way on the east side of the highway. They will also consult the engineers who designed the crosswalk.
Decision deferred on development agreement
The town council also deferred a decision on an amendment to a complex development agreement until they talk with the three property owners.
The 2009 Mackie Development Agreement would have created higher-density development, but the owners no longer want to follow through with those plans, which required them to cooperate in a planned development before they could build anything. Some parcel ownership has changed since the agreement was signed.
The three owners are instead seeking to amend the agreement so that each one can build just one residence on their own lot, for a total of three houses. The development is in an area that’s very difficult and costly to serve with water and sewer services, Sarvis said.
While the council noted that the town needs more housing and higher-density development, the town’s attorney said the property owners don’t need to plan together if they construct only one house per lot.
Coopville Long Plat approved
The council also gave final approval to the Coopville Long Plat, a nine-unit commercial project in an industrial zone on Horizon Flats Road. In their discussion of the project, the council noted that Horizon Flats Road is in poor shape, and some councilmembers were concerned that another nine businesses would only exacerbate the problems with the roadway.
The town is already analyzing traffic impacts and needs to take a comprehensive approach to upgrading the road, rather than pinning it all on one development proposal, Town Planner Rocklynn Culp said. The town has no mechanism to attach fees to development to pay for roads, Sarvis said.
The town is seeking funding and grants to repair the road. The agreement with Okanogan County Fire District 6, which is building its new fire hall on Horizon Flats, commits the district to contributing up to $10,000 when the town is able to repair the road, Town Clerk Michelle Gaines said after the meeting.
The road needs to be completely rebuilt, including a new road base, drainage and a new surface, Sarvis said.
The council heard from resident Rita Kenny, who watched changes on Riverside Avenue in the 27 years she owned Winthrop Mountain Sports. Kenny was concerned that the town hasn’t adequately planned for the increase in tourism and said they need to address parking, traffic and housing issues to be prepared for the future and to keep the experience pleasant for visitors and residents. Mayor Sally Ranzau said she would talk further with Kenny.