Upper Methow Valley
The Mazama Area has a special status as "Sub-unit A in a More Completely Planned Area." They have their own advisory committee, with their own website. You can visit it by clicking here, and find links to the "Mazama Plan".
In 2007, the Methow Conservancy commissioned a study to look at the cost of providing community services to different categories of land use in Okanogan County. It was submitted by the neighborhood group. You can view the study here.
“Mazama is a community, a place and a lifestyle. It is a unique combination of valley and mountain environments, and includes residents and visitors who value the rural life quality that Mazama offers.
For generations, the Mazama community has been a model for people living in harmony with their environment. In Mazama, people's needs are in balance with the ecosystem, and wild creatures are allowed to thrive. Cultural opportunities and social interaction complement the community’s physical setting and further enrich our lives.
By carefully blending the natural, human and economic environments, we will pass on to future generations a landscape as rich and beautiful as the one we now enjoy.
Mazama residents wish to live by sound ecological principles and preserve the quality of our natural environment and the inclusive spirit of this community.
VISIONS FOR OUR LAND
We recognize that the wild and scenic Methow River and its tributaries are substantial treasures that must be preserved by all means available to us.
Fields, meadows, scenic views and open space areas must also be preserved to maintain the open, rural density and pastoral setting of the area; adequate minimum lot sizes, at or above current zoning are crucial to achieve this goal.
We must all work to maintain a high standard of air quality. Mazama residents recognize that the use of wood stoves and fireplaces should be limited, and all wood and gas stoves should be high efficiency and meet or exceed current EPA standards.
Additionally, transportation planning should provide for maximum use of human powered modes of travel, car pooling and mass transportation options to prevent air pollution, as well as to conserve fuel resources.
Our water, sewer, and septic systems will be planned and managed to protect the river systems as well as the level and exceptional quality of the aquifer, and will meet or exceed all State and County requirements.
Flood plain zones will remain free of inhabitable structures, impervious surfaces, sewage disposal systems and other polluting sources.
Water conservation will be considered in building and landscape design, as well as in our personal habits. No toxic substances, including household chemicals, will be allowed to enter the water table.
Motorized vehicles and domestic livestock will be excluded from rivers and streams, except for transitory crossings and controlled livestock watering.
The sounds of nature are an important element of Mazama, and will continue to be the dominant sounds.
All development must be designed and managed to prevent adverse affects on the ambient sounds of nature. Natural terrain features, vegetation, and the incorporation of earth berms will be used for sound buffering whenever possible.
Indigenous vegetation is preserved through conservation and removal of noxious weeds. Additionally, surrounding forest on private land is managed, including thinning against fire, to assure its health.
Landscaping plans will incorporate native vegetation as much as possible, and construction and development will be planned and conducted to insure minimal impact on the natural vegetation. Special attention will be given to the careful preservation of riparian vegetation, which will not be disturbed.
In the Methow Valley, fire plays a natural role in maintaining a healthy forest system. However, Mazama community members recognize that private homes and property need protection from fire. To preserve personal property, surrounding trees should be thinned, excess fuels eliminated, and landscape plans which create fire breaks are strongly recommended. In addition, adequate year round access for fire trucks and equipment, proper site planning of out buildings and wood storage, and the use of non flammable materials on roofs and in building-to-ground transition zones is also strongly recommended.
To prevent accidental wild fires, outdoor burning is limited to the wet seasons, and burning of building, construction and development debris must be properly managed.
Agricultural activities which use and maintain the open fields are strongly encouraged. Mazama is designated open range for livestock and this use is encouraged. Local farming output is a vital part of the Mazama lifestyle and will be supported by the local community.
The impact of the road system on the community is significant. We recognize that chip seal paving is finically economical for the Department of Transportation, however it increases vehicular noise substantially and an alternate solution should be implemented. In addition, vehicles traveling at a high rate of speed increase safety hazards. The speed limits on Goat Creek and Lost River Roads should be reduced to provide a greater margin of safety for children, bicyclists and pedestrians.
VISIONS FOR OUR FISH AND WILDLIFE
Mazama residents recognize the need to allow fish and wildlife to flourish without human intervention. Adequate habitat will be provided, including migration corridors that provide hiding cover, food and water, to support a rich abundance of diverse, indigenous species.
VISIONS FOR OUR PEOPLE
We recognize the unique characteristics of this place and will plan appropriately for the inevitable and desirable growth and development which will occur. We also recognize that commercial development and ‘more’ affordable housing is vital to the economic well being of our community. However it is imperative to maintain the unique feel of this place, which is a casual and remote, self reliant and close knit community.
Construction and development plans minimize visual impact to the natural beauty and views. Buildings will be subservient to the landscape and be sized to conserve space and natural resources. Preservation and restoration of old ranch buildings and equipment is encouraged. Architectural design is on a human scale that utilizes native materials and natural colors. Roofs should be of non-reflective, dark material and designed to consider heavy snowfall. All structures will be located, designed and constructed to conserve energy.
Development along roads and trails will be screened, landscaped and designed to maintain a high quality scenic corridor. To further preserve the scenic beauty of the area, electrical and other utilities will be underground.
To preserve the darkness of our night skies (we live in one of the 10 darkest places in the U.S.), and limit the impact on neighbors, outdoor lighting will not detract from or dominate the natural surroundings. Security and driveway lighting will be directed to the immediate area of need and be shielded.
Public spaces and buildings will continue to be available for social gatherings, clubs, educational and community functions. Cottage industries that do not adversely impact the surrounding neighborhoods, add to the economic sustainability of Mazama, and are encouraged.
We expect Mazama to be a rural area with limited clustered commercial development appropriately scaled to the size of the community. The commercial zone shall be located in the Mazama crossroads core.
Large industrial and manufacturing uses are highly discouraged due to visual and/or auditory impact.
Commercial and residential signage shall be designed and sized to match surrounding rural residential environment. No off site signage shall be allowed.
Outdoor recreation is highly valued by Mazama residents and visitors. Developed trails are a vital component of the economic health of the community and will remain viable for the enjoyment and appreciation of generations to come.
This vision statement is meant to convey of the kind of place in which we want to live. It is meant to guide our actions and communicate our vision to landowners, visitors, prospective developers, county, state and federal officials.
We wish to assure that Mazama will be passed on to future generations as a good example of a cohesive community living in harmony with the natural environment.
The statement evolved from information gathered at meetings called by the Mazama Advisory Committee to gather thoughts and opinions about development in the Mazama area from those who live here.”