A solution addressing concerns that have been raised about potential zoning implications if the Twisp Public Development Authority (PDA) is dissolved was discussed at last week’s Twisp Town Council meeting.
The council is considering the PDA’s request that the agency be dissolved because its work is completed, but since the dissolution request was submitted earlier this year, questions have been raised about the future zoning status of the TwispWorks campus, about the negative impacts of the campus’ growth on adjacent neighborhoods, and about stormwater runoff problems. The council has postponed action on the dissolution request while addressing those concerns.
The PDA was created 13 years ago to guide development of the property that is now TwispWorks. The PDA’s board of directors has recommended that the town dissolve the organization because it has completed its mission.
The council has received letters from residents living near TwispWorks seeking assurance that when the PDA is dissolved, zoning for the TwispWorks property would revert to C-1 (downtown commercial) designation. When the PDA was created, a zoning “overlay” was established that allows greater latitude in development decisions to foster development of the property, which is located in a designated C-1 zone.
Residents said the more flexible standards for development on the TwispWorks property have negatively impacted residential neighbors, and wanted to be sure that the zoning overlay would disappear along with the PDA.
At last week’s council meeting, Town Planner Kurt Danison said the town could take action to keep the existing overlay in place while considering future zoning applications — and allow the dissolution to proceed. That will require coordinating with the town attorney to come up with appropriate language changes to the zoning code to keep the existing overlay temporarily intact, Danison said.
Council member Hans Smith, a member of the town’s Public Works Committee, said the town should be looking for a “a longer-term solution” for the TwispWorks campus while keeping the overlay in place.
Sarah Brown, TwispWorks’ interim executive director, told the council that she is eager to discuss issues and priorities with the Public Works Committee, and with those living adjacent to the campus. “We need to be the best neighbor we can,” she said.
A 2018 paving project created stormwater catchment swales in TwispWorks’ parking lot, but one of them has failed and water leaked or overflowed onto property belonging to council member Mark Easton. At last week’s meeting, Public Works Director Andrew Denham said a design for improvements to the stormwater drainage system is in hand. Smith said the Public Works Committee would like to review and sign off on the design.
The council will need to conduct a public hearing on the proposed PDA dissolution before taking final action, Mayor Soo Ing-Moody said.