BEFORE THE WESTERN WASHINGTON GROWTH MANAGEMENT
STATE OF WASHINGTON
John M. Campbell
PETITION FOR REVIEW
San Juan County
1. Petitioner: John M. Campbell
P.O. Box 250
Orcas, Wa. 98280
FAX (360) 376-5492
2. Date of action under appeal: December 20, 1998
Date of publication of the San Juan County Comprehensive Plan and Unified Development Code (UDC)
3. Detailed statement of issues presented for resolution by the Board:
4. The issues under appeal are the Housing Element of the Comprehensive Plan and the Regulations of the Uniform Development Code which do not meet the requirements of the Growth Management Act RCW 36.70A.070, (2) and WAC 365-195-310.
7. It should be noted here that the projected population used by the Needs Assessment is based upon a growth rate of 2.5%. In fact, as stated in the Introduction, pg. 7, the county has been growing at a rate of 4.8% from 1970 to 1990 and to all appearances, continues to do so.
8. In fact, San Juan County is a remote and finite group of islands experiencing substantial growth. The market is completely unable to provide affordable housing to the low and moderate income segment of the population. The Housing element does not consider this issue.
10. The Act requires, RCW 36.70A.070 (2) (c), the plan to identify sufficient land for housing, including but not limited to, government assisted housing, housing, housing for low income families, manufactured housing, multifamily housing, and group homes and foster care facilities. Neither the Plan nor Appendix I give any information on how the anticipated growth or affordable housing will be distributed between rural and urban areas.
11. Consider the land use maps. There is no shortage of land designated for housing as substantially all land on all the islands are designated rural, agricultural or forest, all permitting housing. As substantially all this land is expensive shoreline or is designated for densities of five or more acres per dwelling unit, it is all designated for estate and retirement development, not to meet the needs of low or even moderate income families. We find no analysis that suggests that the supply of existing or potential small lots and multi family zoning is adequate to the need.
12. It is important in the discussion of residential density to understand a 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 Plan, Land Use 2.1.B, par. 3). It is indicative that this fundamental policy is unstated in the Housing Element. Such a requirement is a distinct handicap to either "encouraging development in urban areas" or "reducing the inappropriate conversion of undeveloped land into sprawling, low density development". It is a handicap to affordable housing as well.
13. Consider San Juan Island with nearly half the county population. Outside of the Town of Friday Harbor there is no small lot zoning except shoreline nor any multifamily zoning. The unstated presumption apparently is that affordable housing will occur in the Town of Friday Harbor thus relieving the County of any responsibility for the matter. That assumption is consistent with the GMA mandate to avoid sprawl and encourage development in urban areas but there are two problems that remain
a. The vision statement speaks of a rural community. Working people live in San Juan County, working at some of the lowest wages in the state, in order to live in a rural community. The writers of that Vision Statement did not imagine that affordable housing would be confined to Friday Harbor.
b. The Town of Friday Harbor has not accepted that responsibility. Friday Harbor already has all the assisted housing on San Juan Island. The availability of water and sewer in Friday Harbor is critical and inadequate to serve any significant growth.
14. On Orcas Island, with roughly 35% of the county population and six urban/activity centers, the picture is a little brighter but not for long. The five small activity Centers are currently defining their land use districts in a manner that will insure that very little multifamily or affordable housing will occur. In the meantime, lacking Land Use Designations (Activity center is not a land use designation), the Activity Centers are under a de facto moratorium on any development, residential or otherwise. Activity Centers are generally tiny shoreline locations. Being in the Shoreline, development is further constrained by Rural Shoreline designations and development standards. The unincorporated village of Eastsound does offer some multifamily zoning. Unfortunately this area is rapidly filling up with non-residential uses. In addition, the Eastsound Water users Association is under a moratorium on new connections with no end of the moratorium in sight.
15. The Act requires that the planning jurisdiction "Makes adequate provision for existing and projected needs of all economic segments of the population." Just what "adequate provision" means in a remote, high cost, growing community like San Juan County is not entirely clear. The Dept. of CTED, in their review dated 8-13-98, noted that "More information is needed on how the County will encourage the development of affordable housing during the next 20 years ..The county needs to develop additional goals and policies specifically addressing these needs." It is clear that the San Juan County Housing Element is entirely inadequate and ineffectual to the present and growing needs. Consider first the Countys general housing Policies, 5.2.A:
d. In accordance with the Federal fair housing Act, ensure that regulations for residential development do not preclude the siting of household facilities for special needs such as the developmentally disabled, mentally ill, victims of domestic violence and the elderly. This appears to have been done as these uses are Provisionally permitted subject to administrative review in all districts.
e. 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. A review of the UDC fails to reveal any incentives for "innovative " site planning or standards for cluster developments. The Land Use Element is conspicuously lacking in small lot districts. We find no provisions for Planned Unit Developments.
16. Consider next the low and moderate income housing policies, 5.2.B:
26. (e) Identification of existing programs and policies to promote adequate housing for population segments which cannot afford housing in the existing market and evaluation of their effectiveness. Existing programs include subsidized rentals, Community land Trust ownership and Home Equity loans. All these programs are making a valuable contribution to affordable housing at this time. All would benefit from a frank appraisal of effectiveness, including cost effectiveness, to guide future policy. The importance of cost effectiveness needs to be stressed. New housing is expensive and serves only a lucky few while others, equally needy, go without. For the cost of one new dwelling, a housing counseling program can aid hundreds of families to find housing or to become self sufficient. Both are needed so that as many as possible receive assistance.
27. (f) Incorporation of county wide planning policies on affordable housing and parameters for the distribution of such housing. This should include identification of the share of affordable housing to be provided by the planning jurisdiction and how it will be achieved. In some cases, it may be appropriate for a jurisdiction to provide assistance for the location of affordable housing elsewhere. Parameters for distribution are important in a county of islands, particularly when the providers are likely to be island specific non-profits competing for limited resources. Equally important is some clarity on the issue of rural versus urban locations and some rational reconsideration of allowable densities.
29. (j) Preparation of a strategy for preserving, improving and developing housing which will attempt to meet the needs identified for all economic segments of the population in the planning area. In other words, What, where, who and how. San Juan County is an actively growing "Gold Coast" with high land costs, high construction costs and low wages. Unless local government takes an active role, now, in providing for affordable housing, the future will certainly resemble communities like Aspen where the working population is chiefly commuters, leaving Anacortes on the 5:40 AM ferry and returning to Anacortes at seven in the evening. That is not the Vision of this Plan nor a part of Anacortess housing plan either but it is the unstated implication of the subject Housing Element.
30. The undersigned has written this petition, read it and believes the contents to be true.
John M. Campbell
February 15, 1999
Attachments: 1. San Juan County Comprehensive Plan and Housing Element
Appendix 1 Population projections
Appendix 5 Housing Needs Assessment
2. Uniform Development Code
3.Documentation of standing
4. CTED letter 8-13-98