Concerned about County Comp Plan

Dear Editor,

I live in the Methow Valley and am concerned about the recently released final draft of the new County Comprehensive Plan and “interim” Zoning Ordinance. Public comments are due to the Okanogan County Planning Department by June 16 at

If you are interested in possible densities of people and housing in your area, I’d recommend you take a look at the “Interim Zone Map” <> (in the middle section of the page, not the tab at the top.) It helps to have a USFS or other map available.

You will see yellow areas lining county roads, which are zoned for one dwelling possible per lot (one acre) plus an additional residential structure (which can be another home.) This fairly dense zoning is claimed by the county to be for lands within one mile of a County “arterial.” An arterial is usually defined as a high-capacity urban road which delivers traffic to freeways or expressways at the highest level of service, many being limited-access roads.

However, when I checked roads lined with yellow lots, I found everything from paved two-lane roads to a jeep trail. And many of these lots are much more than a mile from any paved road.

Does it make sense to allow two homes on one acre in areas that are accessible only by dirt or gravel roads (or less?) If such dense development occurs in these outlying areas, what will be the cost to the public of bringing needed services to these developments? How about the growing concerns about contamination of wells with densely located septic systems? And are people who live in such relatively remote areas really looking for many close neighbors?

Check it out – let your thoughts be known!

Sincerely yours,

Isabelle Spohn