Tell me more about your affordable housing plan
As you know, we have a critical housing shortage in the Methow Valley, especially for housing that is affordable for people who work in the valley. The Methow Conservancy is committed to being part of the housing solution in the valley; however, our expertise is not in building affordable neighborhoods. We can best leverage our expertise and resources by making a small parcel of the Sunny M Ranch land available for housing.
Are you designing and building the neighborhood?
No, that is not our area of expertise. Our role is to make land (and water) available for affordable housing. We are collaborating with the Methow Housing Trust as a scoping partner, to assess what housing needs exist and what needs are currently underway through other organizations.
How many units are we talking about?
We don’t know yet; however, we think the neighborhood will encompass 1-2% of the 1200-acre property, near the Town of Winthrop. We recognize that there is complexity regarding water availability for housing, so we are working with consultants to achieve the best community outcome possible.
Tell me about zoning and water issues on the housing parcel.
While we understand that there is complexity surrounding water availability for housing, we are optimistic that with community support, building a small, permanently affordable neighborhood will be possible due to already-existing higher-density zoning on the parcel near town. The community will have opportunities for public comment with any water right changes and during county approval of the project.
It sounds like you’ll be taking away some buildable lots from the local inventory?
We are; however, the lots we’re removing would never be affordable for people who work here—they would be high-end homes perched on a bench visible from many locations in the Winthrop area or on other areas of the property that would most likely become expensive development. Instead, as part of our commitment to ensuring this valley can remain livable for locals, we will be designating a parcel for the Methow Housing Trust and, possibly, other partners to develop housing that can answer the needs of local families and workers. There are many details still to be worked out, but we are committed to the vision of viable housing that is affordable to people who work here, close to the Town of Winthrop and close to trails.
What’s the timeline?
Due to the complexity surrounding water availability, plus time to collaborate with housing partners, gather community input, design a neighborhood based on current data about housing needs in the Methow Valley, and build that neighborhood, we are expecting a multi-year timeline. We will keep the community engaged and informed as we navigate this process.
How can I weigh in on what is needed and desirable in an affordable neighborhood?
We’re so glad you want to get involved! If you haven't been attending our affordable housing community information & listening sessions, we hope you'll join us for the next one! As preparation, we encourage you to watch the Zoom recordings of the first sessions (links at the top of the page). We announce future meeting dates in our monthly ENews, as well as on our Events page, this Sunny M Ranch page, in the Methow Valley News, and on our social media.