town of FH

Town Council approves interim regulations allowing attached Accessory Dwelling Units

  • Sun Jun 13th, 2021 6:54am
  • News

Submitted by the Town of Friday Harbor.

On June 3, 2021, the Town of Friday Harbor Town Council adopted interim regulations allowing attached accessory dwelling units in the single-family residential zone. Ordinance No. 1721 intends to create a pathway to turn existing structures into livable spaces.

“This is an 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.”

In reviewing the ordinance, 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 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.