Q: Why is Thurston County developing an ADU policy?
A: Thurston County is growing and more housing is needed. By 2040, the population is projected to increase by more than 100,000. That means there would be a need for an estimated 5,000 more housing units in the rural areas alone. Forecasts indicate that 38% of these new households will be in low- and moderate-income categories.
Q: What is the current County regulation?
A: Currently, Thurston County's development code allows Family Member Units in the rural areas, but these must be temporary manufactured/mobile or modular homes, and for family members only. ADUs are allowed within certain Urban Growth Areas (UGAs), but not in the rural areas. The current code is available online.
Q: Will there be opportunities to comment on the development of the ADU policy?
A: Yes. Public comment is welcomed any time, and there will be specific dates and meetings at which the public can provide input regarding a proposed ADU policy in the coming year. The County will also host public meetings with the Planning Commission and the Board of County Commissioners to discuss the proposed ADU standards, and there will be public hearings before any final decision is made. Sign up for our webmail to receive notifications of upcoming meetings. .
Q: How can an ADU policy address the housing needs of so many people?
A: The way people live is changing in Thurston County. As a result, there is need for a variety of housing types to provide for changing family sizes, age groups, and income levels of the county. ADUs are one way to provide affordable, diverse and accommodating housing, without significantly altering the character of our rural communities or increasing urban ‘sprawl’, ADU design and development standards will be will be tailored to address the specific needs and concerns of these changes to our community:
- Households are getting smaller; more people live alone or with one other person.
- More people are choosing to rent, and the average cost to rent is increasing.
- There are more single parents with children.
- The senior population is growing, and generally prefers to age in place, within their own homes and community.