Petitioners, ) Case No. 98-2-0010c


vs. )



) John M. Campbell

Respondent )


And )



and KAREN KEY SPECK, et al. )


Intervenors )

  1. Petitioner: John M. Campbell
  2. P.O. Box 250

    Orcas, Wa. 98280

    (360) 376-2035

    (360) 376-5492 fax

  3. This brief will be devoted primarily to issues related to affordable housing. It will discuss Issues:


Issue #1

The legislature has found that unplanned growth and a lack of common goals pose a threat to the environment, sustainable economic development, and the health, safety and high quality of life enjoyed by the citizens of this state. Nowhere is that finding more overdue than in San Juan County. It has been noted elsewhere that "…the basic structure of our economy is one of exploiting the attraction of a non-renewable resource, that is, the beauty and isolation of the natural environment. A key issue is how to exploit that resource without destroying it."

In 1990 the San Juan County commissioners elected, unanimously, to participate in the GMA. The first requirement of that Act, Section .020 (1) is to "." To that end, a land use element is required, .070 (1), "

In the beginning, the County prepared a projection of future population growth using estimates from the OFM. The CP Introduction Section 6 provides The County’s land use assumptions and on Table 5 projected population. The assumptions include:

Table 5 projects the numbers and distribution of population to year 2015 based upon the above assumptions. Several things, however, are missing from Table 5 or anywhere else:






  • Pop. Increase
  • B-A
  • Add’l DU’s
  • (B-A)/2.25
  • Total Permanent Pop.
  • 12,300
  • 20,442
  • 8,142
  • 3,619
  • Add’l Seasonal Pop.
  • 14,838
  • 24,660
  • 9,822
  • 4,365
  • Total Peak Pop.
  • 27,138
  • 45,102
  • 17,964
  • 7,984
  • Bold face numbers taken from Introduction page 7 and Table 5

    WAC 365-195-335 (3) (h) states " This has not been done. Nowhere do we find any discussion or allocation of projected growth between rural and urban areas. Nowhere do we find any discussion or policy regarding the seasonal dwelling unit growth which exceeds the permanent growth, yielding an effective growth rate of 5%. These are not day visitors but overnighters requiring guest houses, resorts and campgrounds nearly double present capacity. There is no discussion about where this growth will be directed. In fact there is no information about the present distribution between rural and urban areas. There is plenty of information about the distribution between islands but that is not the point. The point of the Act is to encourage development in urban areas where services exist or can be provided and this has not been done.

    It is important in the discussion of residential density and distribution of densities to understand the fundamental premise of this plan which was a requirement of the County Commissioners that there would be no change in the existing allowable residential densities. (see CP 2.1.B, par 3). It is indicative that this policy is stated as a fundamental land use "concept". Such a requirement is a distinct handicap to either " or "It is a handicap to affordable housing as well. It is a fundamental refusal to face either the issues of growth or the requirements of the GMA.


    RCW 36.70A.110 requires counties to . The only areas in the county indicated to be urban growth areas are two small areas on the western edge of Friday Harbor. One to the north is a built out subdivision of 20 lots and the larger one to the southwest is the airport. Neither can accommodate any significant population growth.

    At this point I would like to digress briefly into

    Issue #2: Does the use of densities of 2du/acre and/or 1du/2 acre outside of Friday Harbor fail to comply with the GMA?

    Obviously it does as I expect the Friday Harbor brief will convincingly show. But where is the urban growth on San Juan Island to occur if not in these areas? Is all of San Juan Island’s projected urban growth to occur within the limits of Friday Harbor? We find no analysis that this is the intent or that Friday Harbor can accommodate that growth with either land or utilities. In fact, the Town is having severe difficulty serving its present population. If it is indeed the intent that the urban growth on San Juan Island is to occur in Friday Harbor the duty to encourage that growth should include some responsibility for the cost of providing the water and sewer facilities that growth requires. The difficult issue that has heretofore resisted solution is how to pay for those utilities that are required. It is probably not enough to simply send this issue back to the county for redesignation. Rather, a joint Town/County utility planning committee to plan how some of these areas can be served and how they can be an urban growth area is needed.

    Returning to our Activity Centers, are these to be urban growth areas? The Land Use Element, Sec. 2.1.B, states, "." Section 2.2.A.General Goal continues, "…" .This is what the GMA expects but it is in fact not done. First, there is no estimate or projection of the population growth that will occur in the urban or activity centers. Neither is there any analysis of how much growth can occur within existing activity centers. Then when we look at the land use maps for the activity centers we discover that, leaving aside Friday Harbor and Eastsound, they are identified as "Activity Center" but no land use designations are mapped. The DRs provide a framework of land use designations for activity centers,(Section 3.1.1 and Table 3.1) with permitted, conditionally permitted and prohibited uses. But these designations are not mapped. The activity centers are currently under a defacto development moratorium as, lacking land use designations, there is no basis to permit any new development. When we look at allowable residential density we find typically a maximum of 2 DU/acre, hardly "high density". The county has indicated that completing the planning for these areas is a priority. What is happening, however, is that each village and hamlet is writing its own plan with volunteers but without leadership or direction from the county. The plans that are emerging have nothing to do with encouraging development in activity centers and everything to do with ensuring that as little development as possible occurs in their back yards.

    The absence of urban growth areas and provision for growth in activity center plans is not a temporary anomaly but rather an unspoken rejection of the concept of urban growth.. No one wants to see anything grow. County planning has historically been devoted to environmental protection. The concept of planning for development is an anathema in San Juan County.

    One planning advantage enjoyed by San Juan County is that, except for Friday Harbor, all of the activity centers are unincorporated areas subject to county jurisdiction. Ironically, it is a unique opportunity to exercise truly comprehensive planning.

    Among the obstacles to development in activity centers is the provision of water and sewer services. In San Juan County these services are typically a variety of under capitalized user associations. A principal challenge, one of the difficult issues that has heretofore resisted solution, is how to provide the water and sewer facilities that will be required to even permit, much less encourage, development in activity centers. Orcas Village, pop. ~50, has three separate water user associations and is arguably at capacity; Eastsound has a moratorium on new water connections; Friday Harbor is facing daunting expense to serve even existing water connections. The CP, Capital Facilities Section 7.3.B, provides abundant good advice for these various little water systems but takes no responsibility nor proposes any tangible assistance. A more active engagement is required before this plan can be credited with "

    Perhaps San Juan County is special. Perhaps San Juan County is all rural and all our growth and our activity centers should be rural. Perhaps, but that is not what the GMA requires or the Comprehensive Plan states. It is however, the consequence of the present plan and that inconsistency must be resolved.

    The enormity of that inconsistency, the contrast between the expectations of the GMA and the current rural sprawl, cannot be underestimated. As things presently stand the CP fails entirely to "encourage development in urban areas where adequate public facilities and services exist or can be provided in an efficient manner.".

    Issues #3 and #4: Guest Houses, Affordable Housing and Vacation Rentals


    RCW 36.70A.400 requires local governments planning under the GMA to comply with the accessory unit provisions of RCW 43.63A.215(3)

    The CP, Land Use Element General Goals 2.2.A.12 states:

    "(emphasis added.)

    The CP, Land Use Element General Goals 2.2.A.13: The CP, Housing Element 5.2.A.3: "

    UDC Definitions 2.2.1:

    UDC Definitions 2.3 pg 6, Dwelling Unit: (Anywhere).

    UDC Definitions 2.3 pg 9, Guest House: UDC Section 4 Performance and Use Specific Standards Section 4.18 Guest Houses (Accessory Dwelling units) pg 14 and 15 provides standards for guest houses. Section 4.18.9 provides:


    Nowhere do the regulations for guest houses (accessory dwellings) permit long term rental of guest houses for affordable housing. While the DRs may be consistent with Goal 2.2.A.12, it is not consistent with 5.2.A.3 and the failure to permit long term rental of accessory units fails to meet the requirements of the RCW 36.70A.400.

    There are three accessory dwelling uses under discussion here that have been thoroughly muddled in this plan. They are:

    1. Guest houses for guests, i.e. family and friends visiting for limited visits. Our friends like to visit us here and a second unit makes those visits happier for all. Traditionally a permitted use.

    2. Affordable housing. We have a lot of affordable accessory units in service, many illegal, that are an important affordable housing resource. Typically they occupy existing structures. It is not generally an economic use of new construction. I believe it is the intent to encourage this use.

      1. Vacation rentals. Historically not permitted but widely practiced. This is an economic use of new construction and one that often places severe strains on community systems.


    The present CP and DRs are not internally consistent and are not in compliance with the GMA.36.70A.400. These uses must be sorted out and regulations drawn for each use.


    Issues #11 and 14: Does the CP and/or the DRs fail to comply with the affordable housing provisions of the GMA?

    The act requires, 36.70A.070, (2), an inventory and analysis of existing and projected housing needs. WAC 365-195-310 requires an evaluation of the extent to which the existing and projected market can provide housing at various income levels.

    The CP includes in Appendix 5, pg. 13 the information that 456 households,15% of all households in the county, are LMI and paying in excess of 30% of their income for housing. On page 21 we find that in the next decade, 2002 in fact, the 456 households will have grown to 1162. In addition, Appendix 5 provides substantial statistical and anecdotal evidence that there is a severe shortage of affordable housing in the county. Nowhere does the Housing Element provide any statement of the extent to which the market can provide housing for either existing or projected LMI families as directed by WAC 365-195-310 (2) (c). Appendix 5, pg. ii reveals None of this is reflected in the Housing Element which provides no quantitative or qualitative statement of existing or projected housing needs. The Summary of Housing Needs CP 5.1.B is nothing but a blank laundry list of all the standard subdivisions of housing needs.

    The Act, 070,(2) (b), requires a statement of goals, policies and objectives and mandatory provisions for the preservation, improvement and development of housing including single family housing. Again WAC 310 (2) provides direction in sections (e,f,g,h,i). This includes

    In fact, nothing of the sort has been done. There is no description or evaluation of existing programs. The Housing element offers no quantitative goals or objectives at all, either to meet existing or projected needs of low and moderate income families. It provides no mention or evaluation of the available local entities to meet the needs. The Dept of CTED, in their review of 8-13-98, noted that

    The Act further requires, 070,(2) c, the plan to identify sufficient land for housing, including, but not limited to, government assisted housing, housing for low income families, manufactured housing, multi-family housing and group homes and foster care facilities.

    The CP provides no evaluation of the land available for affordable housing. The Land Use Inventory in Appendix 1 provides abundant information about the number of parcels, acreage and existing use but no information whatever about the development potential of the vacant lands. Consider Appendix 1, Table 26 the Eastsound Planning Area. I choose this because it is an activity center, familiar to the petitioner, where, presumably, growth is to be encouraged. We learn that there are 229 vacant parcels comprising 221 acres but there is no information about the designated land use or development potential.

    There is no information about the amount of multi-family or small lot zoning in the county. If one studies the zoning maps it is quickly clear that the only multi-family or small lot districts, i.e. less than 1/2 acre lots, are small portions of Eastsound and Lopez Village. Substantially all of the county is either expensive shoreline or is designated for densities of five or more acres/dwelling unit. This may meet the requirements for rural development but not the needs of low or even moderate income families. There is no analysis that suggests the supply of existing or potential small lots and multi-family zoning is sufficient for future needs for affordable housing.

    Finally, the Act requires, 070 (2) d, that the Housing Element "makes adequate provision for existing and projected needs of all economic segments of the community." Let us now consider what is proposed to that end. Consider the CP Housing Element, 5.2.A; Housing Policies:

    1. Promote fair and equal access to housing opportunities for all persons

    2. Ensure that County policies, codes, and regulations do not restrict, prohibit or substantially increase the cost of establishing a variety of housing types or impede the goals, policies and objectives of this Housing Element.

    3. Allow the rental of guest houses on a long term basis to provide opportunity for affordable housing.

    4. In accordance with the Federal Fair Housing Act, ensure that regulations for residential development do not preclude the siting of household facilities and shelters for special needs populations such as the developmentally disabled, mentally ill, victims of domestic violence and the elderly.

    5. Provide incentives for efficient development patterns through innovative site planning techniques which minimize road, sewer, water, and other infrastructure costs. Provide standards for cluster developments, small lots and small lot districts, manufactured housing and planned unit developments.

    Leaving aside #3 about which I have already spoken, this is all fluff until Policy 5 in the last sentence. Small lots, small lot districts and planned unit developments are real issues within the county discretion that could make a difference. Looking at the zoning maps, however, we find only small areas in Eastsound and Lopez Village so designated (less than half acre). In Eastsound, this land is rapidly disappearing into non-residential uses. Lacking an analysis of the development potential of these lands in Lopez Village, it is unclear what the development potential there is. On San Juan Island with half the population there is no such zoning.

    With respect to planned unit developments, an examination of the DRs, Table 3.1, pg 6 and 3.2, pg 12 we find that planned unit developments are prohibited throughout the county. Whatever the intention, it is not implemented.

    Consider next Section 5.2.B, Low and Moderate Income Housing Policies:

      1. Establish the County’s role in the provision of low and moderate income housing as the facilitator of non-profit and for-profit development and financing initiatives. The County will undertake no direct housing development.
      2. This clarifies the share of affordable housing to be provided by the jurisdiction as required by WAC365-195-310 (2)(f).

      3. Formulate a density bonus program to provide an incentive for creating low and moderate income housing. Such a program should include standards for innovative site planning techniques which minimize road, sewer, water and other infrastructure costs.
      4. This could be an effective policy but, except in a rapidly disappearing Eastsound designation, it is not implemented.

      5. Provide opportunity and specific standards for locating seasonal and year round worker housing such as dorms, bunkhouses hostels, group homes and other communal living arrangements. Standards should include compliance with all health codes and measures to mitigate significant negative impacts these facilities may have on adjacent properties and public infrastructure.
      6. This too could be useful but it is not implemented.

      7. Develop programs to transfer acquired development rights to identified low and moderate income housing receiving properties. This would allow an affordable housing developer to build more units within a project than would otherwise be permitted under the density provisions of the Land Use Element without increasing net buildout.
      8. Whether such a program would be of any benefit to affordable housing is very doubtful but, in any event, it is not implemented.

      9. Maintain a Housing Advisory Board to advise the Board of County commissioners on housing issues and to coordinate the development of affordable housing opportunities in the county.
      10. This has been done and the County’s Home Equity Loan Program is tangible product of that advice. Unfortunately the Housing Element recommendations of the Housing Advisory Board, Attachment #3 to this Petition, were not heeded.

      11. Utilize state, federal and local housing resources and grant programs to the maximum extent possible consistent with the goals and policies of this element.
      12. This too has been done when others initiated the work. It is to the County’s credit that they have consistently cooperated with non-profit and for profit affordable housing developers. Grants have been forwarded and permits have been expedited.

      13. Continue the owner/builder permit program and work to improve the flexibility of this program to enable citizens to construct their own homes.

    This popular program, unique to San Juan County, permits the construction of Yurts, haybale, rammed earth, greenhouses and a variety of innovative construction techniques without strict compliance with the Uniform Building Code providing basic life safety issues are met. A comparable effort to instruct the uninstructed homebuilder in basic techniques of conventional construction, fast, durable, economical, bankable and energy efficient 2x4 and plywood construction, would complement this policy and contribute far more to affordable housing.

    All of the above, in the aggregate, is a Housing Element that is utterly inadequate and ineffectual to the size and severity of the need. It is a plan to do nothing. More to the point, it does not meet the mandatory requirements of the GMA, RCW 36.70A.070 (2) either in detail or to " What is most conspicuously lacking in this Plan is any suggestion of What needs to be done, Where to do it, Who will do it and How.

    I can not conclude this long litany of what is wrong with the CP and DRs without giving credit for what is right. It is a truly comprehensive plan and it is comprehensible too. The DRs provide clear direction about what is required (or prohibited) for the first time in County history. The environmental protection policies and regulations are exemplary. All this was accomplished by a small rural staff while concurrently under total departmental reorganization. For twenty years this staff has been the sole bulwark between this unique environment and the combined forces of venality and destruction. Notwithstanding their various errors and frailties we are immeasurably in their debt. The subject Plan is a sound foundation for achieving the goals of the GMA if we will now build the structure.To comply with the GMA that structure must provide our little villages and blue collared homo sapiens the same encouragement and protection as is presently accorded to Class II non-compensatory wetlands and un-named species of local concern. (UDC 3.6.8.f (2) & 3.6.9.c)



      1. The CP fails to comply with GMA Sections .020(1), (12) and .110 regarding encouraging development in urban areas, ensuring that necessary public facilities will be available to support such development and designating urban growth areas and projecting urban growth.
      2. The Housing Element, CP Section 5 fails to comply with the requirements of RCW 36.70A 070 (2) and is not implemented by the DRs.
      3. The CP and DRs regarding accessory dwelling units are inconsistent and are not in compliance with RCW 36.70A.400.

    The above allegations #1 and #2 substantially interfere with the goals of the GMA.





    John M. Campbell

    May 8, 1999