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County draft plan looks to rely on "landed gentry"


Last updated 11/17/2021 at 8:51am

As you read this letter, there may be only a week until the deadline of 12 pm, Nov. 29, for written public comments on the draft Okanogan County Comprehensive Plan.

Fortunately, this revision supports our county’s need to form “More Completely Planned Areas” to address varying values and landscapes in different areas of the county. Citizen Advisory Committees would lead these efforts.

If you’re interested in how land is used in your area of the county, write a letter to the Okanogan County Planning Department regarding the following situation:

The draft prevents county commissioners from appointing anyone not owning land to serve on an advisory committee, although commissioners and County Planning Commission members are merely required to “reside” within their areas.

Should we revert to the days of the “landed gentry”? Consider who would be excluded from such Advisory Committees:

 *Retirees, having lived in their area of the county all their lives but having passed their land off to offspring. Their input regarding the local land and people would be lost.

*Young people born and raised in a certain area of the county returning with new skills but without the accumulated wealth required to own land.

*Handicapped individuals needing dwellings that don’t demand the strength and mobility of a landowner.

*Working people, unable to find affordable property near workplaces, thus needing to rent.

Why not require Advisory Committee members to simply “reside” in areas they represent, as other officials are? Let’s not lose cherished and historic values of our communities by preferring instead landowners who may have never lived there.

Isabelle Spohn



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