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Home » Archives » January 2006 » ADU-Guest House Issue Is A Non-Issue

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01/25/2006: "ADU-Guest House Issue Is A Non-Issue"


To the Editor:

When will we all wake up and realize that the ADU-guest house issue is truly a non-issue? Anyone with a lick of sense knows that if you want to build a guest house you build a "studio" or a "workshop", wire it for the 220 volt oven that is not installed until after the final inspection. Instead of closets, you buy a couple of armoires.

You are then careful in who you rent your "studio" to, making sure they dont play their music too loud, don't drive recklessly on any shared roads leading to the guest house, er, I mean, "studio." It is a plus if whoever is in the studio is available to take care of your neighbor's cats while they are in Fiji or California or wherever. It helps if your renter is handy--you know, willing to get out a chainsaw and clear the common road of a downed tree, jump a car, bake really good bread, stuff like that.

The island has historically been a community of live and let live. You ignore the ten junk cars your neighbor has hidden amongst the woods of his five acres knowing that when you need the odd part for your Honda he probably has it or can fashion one that will work from something he has lying around. You ignore your neighbors fence that is a foot higher than the neighborhood guidelines because it hides your illegal clothesline.

I think we run into trouble when we get so obsessed with the ecological web of life that we forget about the socio-economic community web of island life. Let us remember the widow who can pay her property taxes and stay in her family home because of the income generated from renting her guest house to the kind woman who checks in on her. Let us remember that some housing needs on the island are best met by a humble guest house and not a super McMansion. Let us remember that all the money spent on litigation over the ADU-guest house issue could have been spent in other ways that would have benefited the environment and the island community.

Sincerely,

Amy Wynn
San Juan Island


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