Good Neighbor Handbook

  • Illustration from Good Neighbor Handbook

    Malcolm Wells
  Has your once-peaceful town been overrun by trophy homes, off-leash dogs and transplanted neighbors that just don't seem to care? In eastern Washington, the Methow Conservancy is taking steps to prevent these sorts of unintended excesses. They've published the Good Neighbor Handbook: A Guide for Landowners in the Methow Valley. Authored by former HCN intern Katherine Bill, the Handbook provides a nuts-and-bolts approach to problems faced by new homeowners, covering everything from wildfire protection to noxious weed removal to energy conservation. It even gives tips on building homes that won't outrage the neighbors.

Perhaps the most valuable aspect of the Good Neighbor Handbook is its lists of local, state and national resources. Landowners can find numbers and Web addresses for recycled building material suppliers, local planning agencies and even a Methow Valley botanist. The free handbooks are now available throughout the valley - even in the county office, right next to applications for building permits.

Inspired by the Good Neighbor Handbook, similar guides are popping up like New West housing developments. Christine Egan, who works for the Columbia Basin Land Trust, is starting to put together a landowner's handbook for the Columbia River Gorge. "Landowners will do the right thing if motivated and informed," she says.

To order the Good Neighbor Handbook, call 509/996-2870. The guide can also be viewed on the Web at

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