County zoning concerns
With no appeal of the county’s Comprehensive Plan filed at this point, Okanogan County is moving ahead on a fast track for review of our county zoning code. The interested public needs to be aware of certain elements of the current zone code that are fairly alarming if population density and location of dense developments are of concern. The extent of public involvement opportunities on this fast track are unclear at this point, so you may want to check the zoning map and code for the location of your concern ahead of time.
Zoning provisions dealing with density of allowable developments in 20-acre minimum lot size zonings in both the upper and lower Methow are alarming to me. These parcels tend to be far from town and more isolated.
South of Gold Creek (lower Methow), the current zoning code allows a maximum of up to 100 multifamily dwelling units or mobile home units per acre on 20 acres in the Rural-20 zoning designation.
North of Gold Creek (upper Methow), the current code allows an undetermined number of multi-family units per 20 acre unit in the “uplands,” under a conditional use permit written by the county Planning Department. Appeals of such approvals are increasingly expensive.
Is this really the direction we want for development in the Methow Valley? Do we really want dense developments far from town, considering wildfire, traffic, wildlife, noise and available public services? If you’re interested, start taking a look now at your location of concern, because the documents are somewhat complicated and take time to review.
The county code is located on Okanogan County website under “documents” in the top bar. Title 17A (zoning) of the code includes both verbal descriptions of allowable uses in each zoning category and a district use chart. Types of uses include gas stations, asphalt plants, grocery stores, dwellings, etc. For a zoning map, go to “commissioners,” under “government,” also located in the top bar of the county website.
For more info, contact the Planning Department, call Commissioner Andy Hover, or click “contact” at countywatch.org.
Thanks from the Masons
The Methow Valley Free Masons would like to extend a hearty thank you to Sarah Schrock for last week’s column highlighting our organization’s colorful world history, local community roots and charitable works. As she aptly stated — our Masonic Lodge in Twisp sits prominently on the highway, yet our group and local activities may be less well known than some other organizations.
Locals and visitors alike will see us in the vestibule at Hank’s every fall for the “Don Wilson Memorial Rifle Raffle,” which is our primary fundraiser for our scholarship programs, “Books For Bikes,” and other philanthropy projects. We offer our building as a safe space for use to groups such as AA. We are a service-oriented fraternal organization, and yes … we are the guys with the secret handshake.
To Be One, Ask One.
Seann Wilson, Clay King,
Fred Noyes, Rudy Schade,
Dave Sorenson, Ray Campbell
Methow Valley Free Masons
We have subscribed to the Methow Valley News for many years. We are constantly impressed with Publisher Don Nelson, Managing Editor Natalie Johnson, Reporter Marcy Stamper, the Valley Life columnists and numerous contributors. For a small valley to have such a large newspaper in news coverage, advertisers and community participation is remarkable.
The issue of Feb. 9 was particularly informative by the Valley Life writers, who featured East 20’s pizza-oven woes, Twisp Masonic Lodge’s spectacular good deeds, and Mazama’s young movie star, Maeve Campbell. Each week, we are surprised by the depth and/or introspection of their weekly columns.
We are also impressed by the fearlessness with which Don, Natalie, Marcy, Ashley and others who report on difficult subjects, especially contentious topics related to COVID, zoning, water rights, city actions and so on. I am certain it is difficult to report on these topics but you all do such a great job.
Your newspaper is one of my weekly highlights. Keep up the great work!
Gaylen and Bruce Willett