About the Preserve the Chelan Butte Project
The Chelan Butte is the iconic, undeveloped backdrop to the City of Chelan and surrounding areas. It is a geological feature that distinguishes Chelan from all other small towns in central Washington.
A 900-acre portion right in the middle of the Chelan Butte belongs to a single owner (Golden Gate Ventures). It is located inside the Chelan city limits and is primarily zoned for tourist accommodations. It has been estimated that up to 800 vacation rental homes could be built on this property.
Why It Matters
In addition to the Chelan Butte being the visual inspiration of Butte Brand, there are two primary reasons why all Chelan Valley residents should want to preserve Chelan Butte:
1. Preserved and undeveloped, it embodies the natural beauty of the area in which we live.
2. If developed, the addition of up to 800 vacation rental homes will further increase home prices, overwhelm lake access and use, and clog our streets with traffic.
Now may be our last chance to avoid the detrimental consequences of this kind of development. There may be no second chance.
According to the City of Chelan, the number of seasonal homes as a percentage of the total housing stock has risen from 5.2% in 1980 to 32% in 2014. At this rate, over 50% of Chelan housing will be seasonal second homes (usually vacation rentals) soon, if not already.
This is at the root of the housing crisis in Chelan and the surrounding area, driving up costs for residents.
In addition, 800 vacation rentals on the Butte would create up to 792 additional vehicle trips per hour coming through Chelan during peak traffic periods, over five times the number of trips created by the Lookout development in 2021.
What will it take to save the Chelan Butte?
It is estimated that it will take up to $7 million to purchase the Golden Gate Ventures properties. There are a number of ways these funds could be procured. Chelan Basin Conservancy has been discussing strategies with land trust organizations and others.
Because the property is within Chelan City limits, the City must demonstrate its support with its own modest financial contribution to preserve the Butte.
CBC believes a viable strategy can be developed if the residents of Chelan and the surrounding area are both passionate and vocal about their support for preserving the Butte. Let the Chelan City Council and mayor know your position!