The Town of Twisp has launched the formal process to consider a request by Hank and Judy Konrad, owners of Hank’s Harvest Foods, to annex two properties along Highway 20 into the town’s limits to develop with affordable housing.
The multiple-step process does not assure that the parcels will be annexed. Any agreement between the town and the Konrads will come with stipulations and conditions, Town Planner Kurt Danison said at last week’s Town Council meeting.
Together with an existing, adjacent lot the Konrads own that is already within town limits, the two parcels would amount to about 10 acres that could be developed, the Konrads told the town in their annexation request filed earlier this year.
Next, the Konrads need to submit a formal annexation petition, Danison said in a memo to the council. “The landowner(s) can request specific zoning and may or may not provide information on how they intend to use the property,” Danison said.
After staff and council review, the council sets a public hearing date. Typically, the Planning Commission reviews the petition and makes its own recommendations before the public hearing, Danison said.
If the annexation is approved, the council adopts an ordinance requiring that any development comply with applicable requirements of the Municipal Code and Twisp Development Standards.
The Konrad parcels proposed for annexation are located on the north side of Highway 20, just east of the highway’s junction with Twisp Airport Road. The two that would be annexed are directly east of the lot that is already within town limits. The parcels proposed for annexation are both within the town’s urban growth boundary.
Council members discussed the town’s water supply and its ability to absorb additional growth, given that several other developments have been proposed — but not acted on yet — within the town’s existing boundaries.
Public Works Director Andrew Denham said he would put together an assessment of the town’s anticipated water supply capacity, and inventory other proposed developments that have not yet materialized, to give the council an idea of what the town might anticipate over the next several years. Denham said that there is “quite a bit of room there” for expansion.
“I expect we’ll be able to handle the growth,” Denham said.
In other business:
• The council extended the contract for Municipal Judge David Ebenger for four years, and raised Ebenger’s monthly retainer from $475 — where it has been for the past four years — to $550. The municipal judge handles cases involving town ordinances and infractions. Currently, hearings are being held on the Zoom platform, Ebenger said. Ebenger is also the municipal judge for the Town of Winthrop.
• Denham reported that the town’s request for a $295,000 grant to pay for a street improvement project through the state’s Small City Arterial Program has been approved. The project will involve repaving Cascade Drive, which is substantially deteriorated but handles heavy truck traffic. The town also is asking for a grant of about $67,000 that would be used to repair several streets with crack seals and fog seals. Denham said he’s awaiting word on that request.
• Denham also reported that construction of the new civic building remains on track and that he anticipates the roof will be “weathered in” for the winter shortly.
• Council member Hans Smith reported that the Public Safety Committee has begun discussing the possibility of annexing the town into Okanogan County Fire District 6. Currently, the town continues to contract with the district for fire protection services. Smith said the district’s annexation agreement with Winthrop, approved by voters in that town and in the district in 2017, is being reviewed as a starting point for discussions. If Twisp is annexed, the fire district’s tax levy will be added to town residents’ property tax bills and the town will no longer pay the district from its municipal funds, and town residents will be eligible to vote in elections affecting Fire District 6 operations.
• The council accepted a grant of $11,200 from the state Department of Ecology to pay for a required, periodic review of the town’s shoreline master program, which must be updated every seven years.
• The council agreed to provide $26,000 in motel/hotel taxes that are collected to support tourism-related activities to the Twisp Chamber of Commerce, which will use the funds for promotional activities in 2022. The amount is the same the town provided to the chamber in 2021. The chamber operates the Visitor Information Center at the Methow Valley Community Center on Highway 20, has a website, and aggressively promotes the town via social media.
• The council endorsed a request by Mayor Soo Ing-Moody to convert the public works director position to exempt status, meaning that the position will be paid a fixed salary rather than an hourly rate in the future. Denham has announced his retirement and the town is seeking a replacement. Ing-Moody said exempt status would make it easier to recruit and would eliminate concerns about working around overtime pay issues.
• The council renewed the town’s participation in the North Central Washington Narcotics Task Force, which includes other towns in the county as well as the Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office and federal, state and tribal law enforcement agencies, with an annual contribution of $2,300 from Twisp.