Preliminary plans part of application for annexation
Annexation is a long, complicated process, but the Town of Twisp got a preliminary view of what an affordable housing development on property owned by Hank and Judy Konrad might look like when it’s completed.
The Konrads’ proposed development is on a total of about 10 acres along Highway 20 at the east end of town, including one lot within the town limits and two that they have asked the town to annex. That request was first submitted in August 2021, and the Konrads have been working with the town since then on development of what’s called a pre-annexation agreement.
Such an agreement spells out some details of a proposed development, plus provisions for connecting to town services and other requirements.
At last week’s Town Council meeting developer Gary Scott, representing the Konrads, presented an ambitious plan for a total of 73 housing units, from small and medium-sized houses to larger homes, apartments, lofts, senior housing and possibly retail, in a mixed-use development that would include pocket parks, community gardens, a self-storage area and off-street parking.
That’s all likely a few years away, as the town and the Konrads have yet to finalize the pre-annexation agreement, complete annexation and build out the development, which will be called Milltown as an homage to Twisp’s past.
At last week’s meeting, Scott said the Konrads, owners of Hank’s Harvest Foods and other properties in Twisp, will be asking the town to consider some variances to existing planned development provisions in order to fulfill Milltown’s vision.
“We want to meet the needs of the community with a quality project,” Scott told the council.
Scott said Milltown will include small (less than 1,000 square feet) “bungalows” of traditional design including porches, medium-sized homes, and larger homes so residents can potentially move up to larger homes as they become more established. “They can move to the next level of housing but still stay in the neighborhood,” Scott said.
Two-story multi-family housing, senior housing and loft homes with the potential for first-floor retail are also part of the plan.
Scott said some elements of the homes would be pre-fabricated to cut construction costs and increase heating and cooling efficiency. There may be an option for solar power as well.
“We’re looking at every angle we can” to contain costs, Scott said. He said the plan is to minimize the use of town water and use irrigation water sources for common landscaped areas.
Scott said the Konrad will ask the town consider reducing the required open space from 40% to 20%, noting that the development includes several park areas and other open-space features. Another request, Scott said, is to modify internal street standards to narrower widths but with street-level sidewalks and no on-street parking. “It’s not a drive-through community,” he said.
Each dwelling unit would have its own off-street parking, he said, and several small off-street parking areas would be set aside for visitors.
Scott also said the development will be asking for the option to pay off town services connection fees over time to amortize the payments over a longer period.
Those questions will be taken up during pre-annexation discussion, then by the Planning Commission and ultimately the Town Council when they consider a formal planned development proposal prior to the final annexation action.
Council member Hans Smith, who has been part of the pre-annexation agreement discussions, said the town is looking to be flexible to make the project doable. The town’s water resources and sewage treatment capacity are also part of the discussions, he said.
Hank Konrad told the council that “we’ll always be flexible … if we work together we can change what we need to. We are more than willing to work with the town on any questions.”
After surveying the council, Mayor Soo Ing-Moody told Scott and the Konrads that “I see no hard opposition on anything you are requesting.”
The Konrad parcels proposed for annexation are located on the north side of Highway 20, near 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. The town’s existing R-3 zoning would allow mixed-use development.