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Thurston County Comprehensive Plan - ADU

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ADU Focus Group

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Thurston County developing an ADU policy?

Thurston County is growing. By 2040, Thurston County’s population is likely to grow by more than 100,000, with an estimated need for around 5,000 more housing units in the rural areas alone. Based on current levels, we can expect that 38% of these new households will be in low- and moderate-income categories.

Changing demographics of Thurston County

  • 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 prefer to age in place, within their own homes and community.

As a result, there is need for a variety of housing types to provide for the changing family sizes, age groups, and income levels of the county.  Accessory Dwelling Units are one way to provide affordable, diverse and accommodating housing, without significantly altering the character of our rural communities.

In order to preserve rural character, and reduce urban ‘sprawl’, ADU design and development standards will be will be tailored to address the specific needs and concerns of our community.

What does the County currently allow?

Currently, Thurston County allows Family Member Units in the rural areas, but these must be temporary manufactured/mobile or modular homes, and for family members only. Click here to see the current code. ADUs are allowed in certain Urban Growth Areas (UGAs), but not in the rural county.

Will there be opportunities to comment on the ADU policy?

Yes. Public comment is welcomed any time, and there will be additional opportunities for public input regarding a proposed ADU policy in the coming year. The County will hold 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. .


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