No. 99-2-0010c



The Board entered its Final Decision and Order in this case on July 21, l999. The County requests the Board to reconsider, clarify and modify its decision in three narrow areas:

(1) Densities in villages, hamlets and activity centers adjoining resource lands. Densities of less than five acres in villages, hamlets and activity centers adjacent to resource lands do not substantially interfere with the goals of the Act. (cf: FDO p. 10, lines 11-12);

(2) Main residence and guesthouse treated as a single dwelling unit. In complying with the Board's order regarding guesthouses, the County may retain its definition of dwelling unit which

provides that a main residence and accessory dwelling unit are treated as one single family residence. (cf: FDO p. 13, lines 14-20); and

(3) Short-term guesthouse rentals. The rental of guesthouses in rural areas must be analyzed in light of RCW 36.70A.070(5)(a), (b) and (c). (cf: FDO, p. 14, lines 6-12).


I. Densities in villages, hamlets and activity centers adjacent to resource lands.

The Board's decision contains a finding of invalidity for density allowances of less than five acres on land adjoining resource lands. (FDO p. 9-10) Six of the villages and hamlets adjoin resource lands. For the most part, the densities in these villages and hamlets is less than five acres. The Board has found that while these villages and hamlets do not comply with the Act (because a .070(5)(d) analysis has not been done), they do not substantially interfere with the goals of the Act. (FDO p. 12, lines 7-9)

The County requests that the Board exempt the villages and hamlets from the finding of invalidity that applies to densities of less than five acres in land adjacent to resource lands. (Conclusion of Law No. 4.) The Act specifically contemplates the inclusion of resource lands within urban growth areas. RCW 36.70A.060(4). Redmond v. Growth Hearings Bd. 136 Wn. 2d 38, 55-56 (l998). If resource lands can exist within UGAs, then it follows logically that resource lands can abut villages and activity centers.

In addition, as argued by the Town of Friday Harbor and accepted by the Board, it is appropriate to assign lower densities to land immediately surrounding areas of more intense development which includes villages and hamlets as well as UGAs. The lower densities of resource lands may serve this purpose well.

The Board has not found the densities within the hamlets and villages to substantially interfere with the Act. The Act itself allows resource lands within UGAs. A finding of invalidity with respect to virtually every village and hamlet on Orcas Island and the only village on Lopez Island has the effect of forcing development into the rural areas of the county during the remand period which will take a half a year or more. A finding of invalidity as to the densities in hamlets and villages adjacent to resource lands during this period while the County is performing its .070(5)(d) analysis is unnecessary and may actually work to thwart the goals of the GMA.

Alternatively, the County requests that the Board limit the scope of invalidity with respect to villages and hamlets during the remand period. The County has attached maps to this brief which delineate reduced zones of invalidity within the affected hamlets and villages. These zones would provide a buffer to the resource lands without shutting down all development within the activity centers during the remand period.

II. Main residence and accessory dwelling unit (guesthouse) treated as a single dwelling unit.

The County's CP '2.2A.12 allows one guesthouse in each district where a single family residence is allowed. For purposes of density, the County has defined a single dwelling unit to include a main residence and a guesthouse. (See fn. .1.) As described in the County's brief for the HOM, a dwelling unit may include a guesthouse but is limited in all cases to no more than eight unrelated people. (See County brief for the HOM pp. 3-10.) The County arrived at this definition, and its policy allowing long-term rental of guesthouses, in compliance with RCW 36.70A.020(4), 36.70A.400, and 43.63.215 as well as provisions of the Act which require protection of the rural atmosphere and resources.

In Finding of Fact No. 18 the Board states, AThe County has failed to analyze the impacts of allowance of attached or detached guesthouses for each SFR and therefore has failed to comply with the Act. An appropriate analysis to be included in the density review analysis with particular emphasis on the impacts to shorelines, resource lands and critical areas.@

San Juan County is prepared to move forward with this analysis. However, on remand the County must also consider the language of the decision which states that, AThe County must also ensure that the additional guesthouse densities are considered and consistent with the basic densities to be established during the remand.@ These words suggest that on remand the County must, in certain districts, count the 1,000 square foot guesthouse as a separate dwelling unit and prohibit them where they exceed the underlying density for the district. For the County to effectively accomplish its analysis it needs direction from the Board on three sub-issues:

1. Does RCW 36.70A.400 mandate the allowance of accessory dwelling units (guesthouses) in all single family zones?

2. Are San Juan County map designations for all rural, resource lands, natural and conservancy districts Asingle family residential zones@ within the meaning of RCW 36.70A.400?

3. Is the County's definition of dwelling unit consistent with the GMA?

As part of the Housing Policy Act the legislature directed counties to incorporate into their Plans and DRs a model ordinance prepared by the Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development (CTED), the purpose of which was to encourage the Adevelopment and placement of accessory apartments in areas zoned for single-family residential use.@ RCW 43.63A.215(1)(b). (The CTED Model Ordinance is Exhibit 171076-80.)

The CTED Model Ordinance allows both attached and detached accessory dwelling units in all areas zoned for single-families. There is a limitation of one ADU per lot. The Model Ordinance provides for ADUs in resource lands such as agricultural zones. The County's regulations are modeled after the CTED ordinance, including size limitations. UDC '4.18.

As discussed at length in the County's brief on the merits, the County's definition of Adwelling unit@ to include the main residence and accessory dwelling (guesthouse) is in direct furtherance of the mandate of RCW 43.63A.215 and RCW 36.70A.400 and the policies and priorities of the state legislature. San Juan County treats a guesthouse and main house as one unit; there are no differences in the number of people who can use a guesthouse and main house as opposed to a main house by itself. Just as accessory dwelling units do not turn single-family residences into duplexes which would destroy single-family neighborhoods, they do not create sprawl which would destroy rural and resource lands.

To complete the next phase of the planning process the County needs confirmation from the Board that its definition of Adwelling unit@ meets the requirements of the Housing Policy Act and

the GMA and that the County can move forward with the analysis of needs and impacts with that provision in place.

III. Short-term guesthouse rentals.

The Board's decision as to short-term guesthouse rentals requires the County to conduct an analysis under RCW 36.070A.070(5)(d)(iv). (Statute attached.) (FDO p.14) This is a subsection of the statute dealing with the rural element of comprehensive plans. It is specifically limited to areas of more intensive rural development. The County's guesthouse policies concern rentals throughout the islands and are not limited to areas of more intense development. As pointed out by the Board, a .070(5)(d)(iv) analysis is appropriate for the island's villages, hamlets and activity centers. However, it is not the correct statute for analyzing the short-term rental of guesthouses.

Analysis of guesthouse rentals should be based on RCW 36.070A.070(5)(a), (b) and (c) (attached). These sections concern rural development in general and allow such development as is consistent with maintaining the Arural character@. The County requests the Board to modify its decision by requiring the County to analyze and prepare a written record of how the planning goals of the GMA are met by its guesthouse rental policies as provided by RCW 36.070A.070(5)(a), (b), and (c), rather than RCW 36.070A.070(5)(d)(iv).







Date: July 30, 1999

Friday Harbor, Washington





By: ____________________________

Karen E. Vedder, WSBA #16,951

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney

Attorney for San Juan County