After a convoluted multi-year process, the Okanogan County Commissioners have released their purported final draft of the County’s Comprehensive Plan. It includes an “interim” Zoning ordinance with missing elements, an incomplete Shoreline Review and an attempt to jam as much construction as possible onto productive farmland, sensitive natural areas, and open space.
The implications are indeed mind-boggling. For example, while the proposed Plan map designates orchards northeast of Brewster and farmland in the Okanogan River Valley as “Rural,” the proposed Interim-Zone Map zones these same areas Rural 1 (dividable into one acre parcels.)
On these proposed “rural” parcels, some examples of permitted uses are: multi-family apartment buildings, compost manufacturers, air cargo terminals, auto sales, banks, indoor swimming pools, stadiums, manufactured home sales, meat packing plants, clinics, petroleum service stations, quarries, and retail stores. And this is only a fraction of the proposed uses. None of the impacts of paving over orchards and farmland for all of these uses are ever analyzed or disclosed.
Just do the math. Here is the ultimate build-out of apartment buildings using the proposed 2014 County Interim Zoning ordinance combined with the allowed number of lots and apartments proposed for Unincorporated Okanogan County: In Low Density Residential Districts, 52,150 apartments would be allowed; in the Methow Review District, 54,726 apartments; and in the Minimum Requirement Districts 3,027,843 would be allowed! And this is supposed to be the plan for our County’s future?
Please take some time to familiarize yourself with the proposed Comprehensive Plan and send in your comments firstname.lastname@example.org by June 16.
This plan is definitely not ready for prime time.