Okanogan County could have a new comprehensive plan at the end of this year, the first revision since the county’s 2014 plan was challenged in court.
The Planning Department released a tentative timeline for legal review, workshops with the planning commission and public comment, with adoption of the plan scheduled for Dec. 29.
Planning staff are currently working on the draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) for the plan. The planning commission will hold a workshop on the plan and DEIS on Oct. 25.
After a legal review of the draft EIS, the plan and environmental analysis will be available for public review and comment, most likely on Nov. 22. The planning commission will hold a public hearing later that month.
The public will have the opportunity to comment on the draft EIS, and comments will be incorporated into a final EIS for release Dec. 22. The county commissioners will consider the plan for adoption the following week.
The comp plan update is intended to provide for local needs affected by land use and infrastructure, including the protection of property and water rights.
This spring, the planning commission reviewed four alternatives for growth in the county — where it should take place and what type of economic development to promote. They recommended Alternative 3, which directs most population growth to cities and towns and uses larger lot sizes to avoid conflict with agriculture and to minimize wildfire risk to residences. The alternative says the availability of water should help guide growth.
The county is also looking at a mechanism for a local advisory group to update existing plans for the Methow Valley and the upper Methow Valley/Mazama area. The update could also expand the area to encompass the entire Methow watershed.
For more information, go to www.okanogancounty.org/government/planning and select “Projects & Plans” in the list on the left. The link for the comp plan includes a draft of the plan, information on the EIS, and the tentative schedule. People can also call the Planning Department at (509) 422-7160.
Links for remote participation in meetings will be available on the board of county commissioners’ agenda. Go to www.okanogancounty.org/government/commissioners and look for “Agenda” on the left.