JOHN M. CAMPBELL AND LYNN BAHRYCH, et al., No. 99-2-0010c









and KAREN J. KEY SPECK, et al.





  1. Urban Growth, Urban Growth Areas and Activity Centers


The County’s Brief is illustrative of the confusion that attaches to the subject of urban growth in San Juan County. Consider:

Legislative Findings (SJC 171849): "Certain lands adjoining Friday Harbor are designated as an UGA."

County Brief, pg. 25, line 7: "The only UGA is the Town of Friday Harbor.

County Brief, pg. 25, 26: "Activity Centers are not UGA’s and were not intended to act as such. However, they are a vital part of the management of growth on islands where it is impossible to direct residential growth to a UGA because UGA’s do not exist."

CP 2.2.A.3: "Direct high density residential and mixed use development into activity centers to prevent sprawl and relieve growth pressure on the surrounding rural areas.

It appears that, consistent with the Eastern Boards decision in Ferry County, the County is claiming to be encouraging growth in Activity Centers in lieu of UGA’s. That would be a reasonable response to the unique nature of San Juan County. But that has not occurred.

Eastsound is certainly an UGA in everything but name. Eastsound is an unincorporated village with a long standing Sub-Area Plan, established in 1981, that is a visionary anomaly fully anticipating the goals of the GMA. The Goals of the Eastsound Plan include:

That sounds like a UGA for all practical purposes. Lopez Village, although lacking a sub-area plan, is a comparable community. The other activity centers, Islandale, Deer Harbor, Westsound, Orcas, Olga and Doe Bay, are smaller historic villages with the potential to grow in classic village fashion. The County cannot, by treating these communities as "Limited areas of more intensive rural development" (RCW 36.70A.070(5((d)(1), finesse entirely the first goal of the GMA to encourage development in urban areas.

The record provides no quantitative measure of the growth potential of any of these communities. It their brief, the County points to 6 unit/acre densities in Orcas Village and unlimited density in Eastsound. A close look at tiny , cliffside Orcas Village will reveal a practical development capacity of between 6 and 12 units. Similarly, the "unlimited" density in Eastsound is in the commercial core, severely constrained by height, bulk, setback, supply and, not least, cost. By treating all the activity centers as "limited areas of more intense rural development" to be contained, the county has abrogated their primary responsibility under the GMA to, at least in some measure, deflect development from the rural areas to the non-rural areas.


  1. Affordable Housing

Brief of San Juan County, pg.32, line 21

The County, in their brief, notes correctly that they have created a Housing Advisory Board (HAB). Unfortunately, in preparing the Housing Element, they have not taken the advice of this Board. The HAB does not coordinate anything except a home equity loan program of their creation. It is to the county’s credit that they have created, with a grant from CTED, a permanent revolving loan fund for LMI first time homebuyers, and Petitioner does not understand why they do not take credit for it. They have put 16 families into home ownership that could not otherwise do so, a tangible, quantifiable result. This successful project was undertaken by the County with some reasonable trepidation and the understanding that, consistent with CP 5.2.B, 1., it would not happen again.

Brief of San Juan County pg. 32, line 25

The county notes that a grant application to update the existing housing needs assessment is underway. Inasmuch as the primary data for a housing needs assessment is the decacentennial census, 1999 is an especially untimely year for a needs assessment. New data is always useful but what is needed is a strategy to meet the need that was fully documented in 1992 and that is the object of this petition,.

Brief of San Juan County pg. 33, line 2

We are relieved to learn that the long term rental of "guest houses" is allowed. All that remains is to say so in the UDC Table 3.1 and 3.2 and Section 4.18. Until, however, the UDC clearly states that long term rentals are permitted they are not permitted. It is in the nature of plans and permits that whatever is not permitted is prohibited. Just say so.

F. Brief of San Juan County pg. 33, line 16

The County states correctly that the visionary Eastsound Sub-Area plan provides a density bonus for affordable housing. Unfortunately, this exemplary model has not been emulated elsewhere in the county and the limited area of Eastsound so designated is rapidly filling with non-residential uses. Yet much of Eastsound is in 5 acre/unit density and the County has declined to make any density increase.

H. Brief of San Juan County pg. 33, line 24

Contrary to the County’s assertion, the research referred to in CP Appendix 1 is devoted exclusively to general population projections and makes no attempt to consider affordable housing needs or issues.

I Brief of San Juan County, pg 34, line1

The county states correctly that the UDC provides standards for farm workers. It also states, pg.1, 2,and 26, that there are very few commercial farms.

J Brief of San Juan County pg. 34, line 19

The County states correctly that Activity center plans now in progress have the "potential" to provide opportunities for affordable housing. We must wait and see but at present that is the last thing being considered.

Notwithstanding all the appendices, the Plan has no statement of the projected LMI population, what (if anything) the housing market can provide for this population, and the number of families that will require housing assistance. Neither is there any indication of what, where, who (explicitly not San Juan County per CP 5.2.B.1) and how this will be provided. What the CP (appendix 5 pg iv) does tell us, however, is that: ."….in communities in which strong growth management and open space preservation programs are implemented, affordable housing may be negatively impacted unless (emphasis from original) the growth management planning includes specific provisions to protect and encourage affordable housing. When growth management is accompanied by pro-active efforts to support affordable housing, housing opportunities for low income households can be maintained or improved."

San Juan County is unique in that it is the wealthiest county in the state with the highest housing costs and the lowest wages in the entire state. The County cites Renton vs. Newcastle to support their tenet that "It is not fatal to the county’s plan that the plan did not culminate in any particular result". The "particular result" at issue in Renton v. Newcastle was whether Newcastle should have planned for 41%, instead of 37%, of new housing to be affordable to LMI households, including those earning less than 50% of median. In San Juan County, there is no indication that any units will be affordable. Newcastle dedicates its CDBG funds for affordable housing, San Juan County has no such policy nor has it ever, of itself, applied for such funds for housing.

The particular result of this housing element is that, contrary to RCW 36.70A.070.2.d, there is no effective provision at all for affordable housing for LMI households. Lacking any quantitative information or goals, the Housing Element will be a self-fulfilling prophecy. There will be no room at the inn and sleeping in the manger is, as yet, not permitted.



Respectfully submitted,



John M. Campbell

June 8, 1999