top of page

 Okanogan County Planning Commission Notes

03.28.22 - PC

  • Attendance difficult due to audio issues. Election of Chair (Roberts) and Vice Chair (Thornton.)  

  • Director Palmer distributes informational packet re what is going on in the rest of county government regarding land use; info included as to possible PC operating principles (saying it wouldn’t hurt her feelings if these suggestions were thrown into the trash.) 

  • County-wide Zoning survey results revealed (56 responses, ranking issues in this order: 

  • 1. Methow Review District, 

  • 2. District Use Chart, 

  • 3. Enforcement, 

  • 4. Nightly Rentals); 

  • Palmer reviews info on: cannabis operations; enforcement, More Completely Planned Areas/Sub Areas; Riverbank Software (watersheds.) 

  • Planning Commission members ask questions regarding consultants for Shorelines Review and Zoning Ordinance and what the role of the Planning Commission will be; 

  • Planning Commission asks how the lawsuit against the county on the Comp Plan fits into the process and what the main complaints were in the lawsuit. PP will not discuss this due to litigation, although Dart points out the lawsuit is public information. 

  • Chair states that if there are no agenda items for April, PC will not meet at 7PM April 25th.

2.20.2024 PC Meeting

  • Planning Director Palmer states goal of having Planning Commission end public comments on Zoning changes tonight, deliberating at a future meeting closed to public testimony, and then passing the Commission's recommendations on to County Commissioners. Commissioners would then hold a final public hearing.

  • Planning Commission decides to continue this hearing in 3 weeks at Agriplex, due to no room available to accommodate those in attendance tonight.

  • Publication of new Legal Notice for the upcoming meeting promised by Planning Commission.

  • Most of public signing to testify tonight choose to wait until the future meeting to testify.  Several testify tonight, most expressing discontent with fairness of the process. One testifies remotely and couldn't be adequately heard on the sound system.

  • Some oppose items that are not  part of the proposed changes at tonight's hearing, and confusion develops over a new "Blue Line" document not available to the Commission or the public until tonight's hearing.

  • Detailed notes to follow.

02.28.22 - PC

View Complete Notes

Planning Commission, 2/28/2022:  No meeting due to lack of items on agenda.

01.24.22 - PC

1-24-2022 Summary: 

  • Revision of minutes; "Riverbank" software almost ready to go live, tracking water usage, especially in Methow; questions as to input to this software;  online permitting and data for individual parcels with "SmartGov" tying together  info from Planning, Building, maybe Public Health expected by end of March,; 

  • Timeline discussed, including Zone code (top priority, on the fast track)  dependent upon whether Comp Plan legal challenge is filed this week,  Critical Areas, Advisory Committees,  Clearing and Grading Ordinance, Tunk Basin, Cannabis Code and Update, Planning Department team building; 

  • Long-time PC members concerned over loss of expensive studies done in the past and need to see them before moving ahead on these issues; 

  • Cannabis Moratorium discussed, lawsuit underway; 

  • Zoning Code discussed including lack of useable maps on website, extended deadlinefor public survey on Survey Monkey; no $$ in new budget for needed change in enforcement language; 

  • Open Space Timber briefly discussed; timeline for Zoning is non-negotiable due to stipulation.

12.27.21 - PC

12-27-2021  Planning Commission, Comprehensive Plan review 

  • Minutes of previous PC meeting (11/29/2021) are approved under protest, due to confusion over the motion in the 11/29/2021 minutes adopting the preferred Alternative (#3) and lack of a description of the PC’s recommended changes to Alt #3.  Chair, not present at 11/29/2021 meeting, casts deciding vote to approve minutes with no changes or explanatory attachments.  Objections made to lack of page numbers on contracted attorneys’ revision of Comp Plan. 

  • Procedure in review of public comments is questioned and reviewed, along with objections to no map of Alternative 3 with agreed-upon modifications and lack of availability to the public.

  •  72 recitals read aloud by Director, approved by PC members, are to be delivered to Commissioners for approval of Comp Plan in 2 days (12/29/2021.) The recommendations are subject to verbal promises of certain revisions to be added later. 

  • Objections by PC members to using outside contracted attorneys (rather than local Planning Commission wording) on this and the expected upcoming Zoning revisions.  Next PC meeting scheduled for January 24, 2021.

11.29.21 - PC

11-29-2021 Meeting Summary: 

  • Planning Director Palmer reverses directive to Planning Commission, stating that they may make changes to Comp Plan after all in consideration of public testimony. However, she states that they then would need to start from scratch going through the public process and would be in violation of a court stipulation that requires completion by 12/31/2021. Commissioners expect approval of Comp Plan by PC tonight.  

  • Six members of the public testify on Comp Plan.

  • PC approves the plan 5 - 1 with no changes, with District 2 rep Dave Schulz opposing. Written testimony on Comp Plan is closed, despite Legal Notice inconsistency. 

  • Written comment on DEIS for Comp Plan is due 12/10/2021. ​

10.25.21 - PC

Preliminary Discussion: 

  • Schulz objects to Agenda calling this meeting a “workshop," saying it’s just an update by the Director as to changes in Comp Plan made by attorneys, and that appropriate documentation of changes was not available for PC review before the meeting. Thornton calls attention to inequities in seating during PC meetings.

  • Draft Comp Plan Review: Planning staff quickly reviews  the most recent Draft Comp Plan   on screen. Commission questions which small WRIAs are in Okanogan County, requesting more info. Dart objects to having had no access to highlighted revisions before the meeting, stating that resignation of member McCoy could have been prevented had it been done differently. Restoration of relinquished water rights and Critical Area aquifer recharge areas  discussed.

  • Comp Plan Approval Process:  Director reviews timeline for Comp Plan Adoption,  adding a review of comments on 12/27/2021.  Palmer clarifies there will still be no more changes to the document by the Planning Commission, regardless of public comments.  Members question this process, in which they are required to have hearings for public comments and then meet to discuss the comments - but without the ability to change anything in the document pursuant to public comments received.  

  • Members question whether a quorum could be achieved over the holidays. Hughes suggests that Commissioners hold the public hearing on Draft Comp Plan instead of Planning Commission, with legal counsel present to make changes recommended by PC and the public at that time.

06.28.21 - PC


  • The Planning Department summarized information on the Draft Critical Areas Ordinance along with comments from government agencies and public Comments on the ordinance in a Staff Report presented to the Commission. 

  • The Department recommends that the Commission deliberate upon these comments and the Draft CAO tonight. The Department would then make revisions to the current Draft.Comments from the Washington State Departments of Commerce and Fish and Wildlife in particular have highlighted the need for substantial changes in the Ordinance. 

  • Reference to some of the same necessary changes were made in public comments.  Procedure of the meeting is discussed and debated in regard to discussion of public comments. 

  • Commission member Gina McCoy presents changes she thinks are needed and highlights important public comments she thinks need to be addressed. 

  • Other Commission members take turns making more general comments upon the document in regard to such items as:  organization and understandability of the document; Buffer Averaging; Hearings Examiner vs Planning Commission in the Appeals Process; need for Clearing and Grading Ordinance; need for updated Best Available Science, Aquifer Recharge Areas, importance of enforcement of County regulations, Geologic Hazards and Liquefaction and more. 

  • The Department will make revisions pursuant to this discussion and written comments and the new Draft will be discussed by the Planning Commission in a public meeting on August 23, 2021, at 7:00 PM.

04.27.21 - Copperstone Long Plat Application

4-26-2021 Monday Evening Planning Commission meeting Summary:  

  • Planning Commission amends minutes of 3/22/21 to reflect the election of officers at the insistence of members McCoy and Thornton.  

  • After extended debate over the Commission's  difficulty with orderly operations during the past two meetings, by-laws are amended without the required 30 days' notice, addressing election procedures only. 

  • Despite suggestions of Director Palmer, Thornton & others, and McCoy's insistence that by-laws should address the right of all representatives to be heard and their duties to follow points of order and raise issues of concern, the Commission declines to adopt basic rules of order or condensed Roberts' Rules. Chair and Co-chair are most strongly opposed to further rules, promising instead to do a better job of not rushing through the proceedings and apologizing to McCoy for the situation on 4/7/2021. 

  • Public hearing on draft Critical Areas Ordinance is set for the next regular PC meeting on Monday, May 24th; details regarding public input or attendance at that meeting not discussed. Deadline for written comment on CAO remains May 21, 2021.  More detailed notes and time stamps will be published later this week.

Public Comment due on Tuesday, April 27, 2021.

04.07.21 - PC

  • Importance of voting on motions exactly as stated is discussed. It's established that Planning Commission operates with only vague by-laws and loose meeting procedures written in 1971. 

  • Reason for this Special Meeting is clarified:  a vote regarding the Comp Plan was taken after the meeting was adjourned on 3/22/21. Alternative 3 with certain changes relating to Alternative 4 is selected as Preferred Alt. The record will be passed to BOCC for approval or changes and a public hearing.  

  • Importance of agreed-upon rules of operation before important upcoming decisions to be discussed during regular PC meeting on 4/26/2021, followed by work on Critical Areas Ordinance.

03.22.21 - PC

  • Roberts//Dart re-elect themselves after 25 seconds of discussion over objections of 3 PC members, saying the process will be discussed again next year.  

  • Palmer recommends  elements of Alternative 4 be addressed in Methow Valley Addenda to Comp Plan when Methow Valley Sub Area and Sub Unit  Advisory Committees meet, but nothing to that effect is put into writing; Palmer states attorneys all very close to agreement on Comp Plan  lawsuit, but  county will likely face daily fines if Comp Plan is further delayed.

  •  Public comments do not need to be addressed by PC because none of the comments brought up anything that was legally lacking. McCoy objects.  Alternative 3  selected as Preferred, with revised wording regarding mostly Rural/Resource designations; no  accompanying map approved yet; no discussion  as to whether the Draft will be sent to BOCC now or later, but Roberts states Draft will be sent as is..

03.08.21 - Planning Commission Public Hearing

View Complete Notes

Summary : Comprehensive Plan, and the DEIS addendum. Click on time stamp to go directly to that part of the video.
00:00 - staff admit attendees to WebEx platform
09:36 - Planning Commission Chair Al Roberts welcomes public and gives rules of testimony.
12:22 - Planning Director Pete Palmer gives report and background on Comprehensive Plan
24:12 - Dick Ewing is called and defers to later speaking slot
25:00 - John Crandall gives comments
30:33 - Maggie Coon gives comments
35:08 - Katie Haven gives comments (audio not available due to recording glitch)
39:01 - Lorah Super is called and defers to later speaking slot.
39:44 - Mary Yglesia gives comments.
44:20 - Melanie Rowland gives comments.
48:55 - Isabelle Spohn gives comments.
54:50 - Easton Branam gives comments.
1:02:10 - Dick Ewing (Farm Bureau) gives comments.
1:04:56 - Lorah Super (MV Citizens Council) gives comments.
1:09:35 - Planning commissioners confer amongst themselves about technical issues.
1:12:38 - Planning commissioner Dave Shultz asks to know the number of comments they have received.
1:14:35 - Planning commissioner Gina McCoy discusses table of contents of draft comp plan
1:16:05 - Planning commissioner Phil Dart asks why very few comments are received from outside the Methow Valley part of the county.

bottom of page