An appeal by the owner of B2G Compost over Okanogan County’s requirements for a security fence has been rescheduled for later this month, now that the county’s hearing examiner, Dan Beardslee, has said he will reconsider the appeal.
The appeal was stymied last month after Beardslee said he didn’t believe he had jurisdiction over the issue. Beardslee had questions about the status of the county’s permitting process, including the analysis of the compost facility under the State Environmental Policy Act.
Okanogan County added the requirement for a wooden or slatted chain-link security fence around the compost facility after hearing public concerns about odor, noise and visual impacts.
B2G owner Kate Wynn asserts that there are no environmental impacts that would be mitigated by a security fence.
Wynn told the Methow Valley News that she’s willing to erect a sight-obscuring fence on two sides of her compost facility, where it could be visible to neighbors. But the other sides of the facility are adjacent to a natural preserve and to her own residence, she said. The facility is at the end of Horizon Flats Road in Winthrop.
This summer, Wynn has been able to make compost using the same methodology she employed last year, where she turns piles by hand. But she can’t use three aerated bins she recently installed until the county’s requirement for a fence has been resolved. Wynn says the bins will optimize the carbon-nitrogen balance.
Most of the feedstock comes from fruit and vegetable scraps from restaurants and spent grain from brewers in the valley, she said. A new partnership with Methow Recycles, where members can subscribe to drop off food scraps at the recycling center, has just started, providing about 100 pounds of feedstock in the past couple of weeks, Wynn said.
The appeal hearing is Thursday, Aug. 24, at 10 a.m. in the commissioners’ hearing room in Okanogan. The hearing examiner will hear testimony from parties with standing. People can attend the hearing in person or via a Zoom link, which will be available on the Planning Department’s website.