Friday Harbor Temporarily Allows Conversion of Town Garages, Basements into Housing

Attached Guest Houses Temporarily Allowed in Residential Zone


From the Town of Friday Harbor

On June 3, the Town Council adopted interim regulations allowing attached accessory dwelling units in the single-family residential zone.

The ordinance intends to create a pathway to turn existing structures into livable spaces.

“This is a historic moment for the town,” said Mayor Ghatan. “These interim regulations aim to increase residential housing while the town continues to develop permanent regulations for all types of ADUs.”

The Town Council noted that ADUs provide a variety of benefits including support for elderly and intergenerational households, affordable housing opportunities for mid- to lower-income individuals, creating efficient use of existing structures, and opportunities for preserving historic structures.

Attached ADUs are located within preexisting single-family residences, often involving the conversion of a garage or basement into an independent living space. These interim regulations now allow owner-occupants in the town to carve out space within their primary residences to create smaller, independent units.

The Town Planning Commission is now tasked with exploring options for all types of accessory dwellings and related issues such as footprint size, lot size, yard setbacks, utilities, parking and owner occupancy.

“There are many existing structures that are underutilized in our neighborhoods like carriage houses, accessory buildings and garages,” said Mayor Ghatan. “Modest conversions into livable space, regulated to ensure minimal impact on existing neighborhoods, play a role in achieving our long-range planning goals for the creation of affordable, long-term housing.”

The Town Planning Commission will hold a series of public meetings in the upcoming months regarding permanent regulations for accessory dwelling units. Information will be posted at as it becomes available.

Posted on June 10, 2021 at 5:30 am by

Categories: Community, Government

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