San Juan County prepares for possible guesthouse lottery

Submitted by San Juan County

The number of detached Accessory Dwelling Units available in San Juan County is limited. If county staff receives more applications than the allowed number of ADU eligibility slots, a lottery drawing is held.

ADUs are commonly used as guesthouses.

ADU eligibility slots allowed in any year cannot exceed 12 percent of the total number of building permits issued in the previous year for new principal residences outside of activity centers and urban growth areas. Two of the 12 percent (10 percent new, 2 percent conversion) of the building permits allowed in any one year shall be restricted for the conversion of existing accessory structures that have legally existed for no less than five years.

If necessary, the lottery will be open to the public, at 11:30 a.m., March 5, at the front counter in the community development office at 135 Rhone St. in Friday Harbor. Results will also be available at

Winners of the ADU lottery will be notified following the drawing. Applicants awarded an ADU eligibility slot must submit a complete building permit application to the department of community development no later than 4:30 p.m., July 15. Building permit applications are available at Applications must meet the requirements and criteria of San Juan County Code.

If a complete and timely building permit is not submitted by the deadline, that applicant’s ADU eligibility will be null and void. The next applicant on the waitlist will be notified that they are eligible to submit a complete building application either within 150 days of the notice or by the last business day of the year.

For more info, contact or at 360-370-7580.