TwispWorks’ updated master plan has edged the campus a bit closer to resolving long-term zoning issues with the town, but work remains to be done.
At last week’s Town Council meeting, the council informally reviewed the recently completed update, which the town does not have to approve or adopt.
The updated plan summarizes TwispWorks’ growth and development over the past 13 years. The original master plan, written in 2010, envisioned “a campus, a community gathering place, and a vital economic zone combined.” That vision hasn’t changed. According to the plan update, TwispWorks’ aim is “to create a welcoming physical place that contributes to a Methow Valley economy rooted in livability.”
While it was operated as a Public Development Authority, TwispWorks was subject to “overlay” zoning separate from the town’s regular zoning code. Since TwispWorks converted to a nonprofit under the management of a foundation, the question of revised zoning for the campus has lingered. The town council had indicated it wanted to wait for the updated master plan before making decisions about transition to different zoning.
Mayor Soo Ing-Moody said at last week’s meeting that the town needs to settle the question of whether TwispWorks will continue to be treated as a separate entity, or be subject to the town’s regular zoning.
Council member Mark Easton, whose home shares a property line with the east side of the TwispWorks campus, said he found the updated plan “exceedingly vague,” and said he was looking for more detail and specificity that would help the town decide how to proceed.
“This is not conducive to updating the overlay,” council member Hans Smith added. He suggested that the Planning Commission should have a role in reviewing potential zoning changes.
If TwispWorks doesn’t request that the overlay zoning be rescinded, Smith said, the town should consider removing it.
TwispWorks Executive Director Sarah Brown told the council that the updated master plan is a “visionary document” that for the most part lays out broad goals and a “long-term view.” She said TwispWorks might consider going through a planned development process that would help define what can happen on the campus in the future.
Easton said that the town and TwispWorks need “something in place that is equitable to both parties.”
At Ing-Moody’s suggestion, Easton and Smith agreed to meet with TwispWorks representatives to discuss possible options.
The updated master plan calls for completion of current projects and deferred maintenance through 2025, and potential additional development between 2025 and 2033.
More than 30 “partners” currently share the TwispWorks campus. More than 100 people make their living on campus, according to TwispWorks.
To review the master plan, go to https://twispworks.org/updating-the-master-plan.