Housing Options

On Oct. 2, 2018, Island County adopted an updated Housing Element of the Island County Comprehensive Plan. During this process, it became clear that there is limited awareness of what housing options (other than single family housing) are currently available in the rural areas under Island County Code. This page provides links to explanatory PDFs that outline each housing type, what zone it is allowed, and provides a summary of the standards.  

Visit the Freeland Zoning Code for what housing types are allowed in the Freeland Non-Municipal Urban Growth Area (NMUGA)

Accessory Dwelling Units

ADU attached: Separate living quarters contained within the primary residence. Permitted Zones: Rural, Rural Residential, Rural Agriculture, Rural Forest, and Commercial Agriculture. 

ADU detached: A detached accessory dwelling unit, situated on the same parcel as a single family dwelling. Permitted Zones: Rural, Rural Agriculture, Rural Forest, Commercial Agriculture, and Rural Residential.

Density Bonus System for Cluster Development

Designed to provide incentives for cluster development in order to: • reserve opportunities for future urban development • provide permanent preservation of open space, critical areas, wildlife habitat and natural lands • protect agricultural and forest resource lands. Permitted Zones: Rural, Rural Agriculture, Commercial Agriculture, and Rural Forest.

Duplexes, Triplexes and Fourplexes

Duplex: A dwelling unit designed exclusively for occupancy by two (2) families living independently of each other, doing their own cooking, and containing two (2) dwelling units. A single-family dwelling unit with an attached guest cottage is not considered a duplex. 

Triplex: The same criteria as a duplex, except designed for occupancy by three (3) families. 

Fourplex: The same criteria for a Duplex except designed for occupancy by four (4) families. All such dwelling units have a common roof or the dwelling units are joined by a common roof. Permitted Zones: Rural Residential

Manufactured Homes and Manufactured Home Parks

Manufactured Homes: A single-family dwelling unit built to the HUD Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards Act. Permitted Zone: Anywhere a Single Family Dwelling Unit is Permitted. 

Manufactured Home Park: A tract of land under the ownership or management of one person, firm or corporation where 3 or more spaces are provided solely for the placement of mobile/manufactured homes for residential purposes. Shall not include PRDs, subdivisions, RV parks or temporary use permits. Permitted Zones: Rural parcels 10-20 acres,

Mixed-Use and Multifamily

Mixed-Use: A development involving a combination of residential and non-residential uses. Typically, a mixed use structure may have non-residential uses at street level with residential uses on the second floor. Multifamily: Multi-family means five (5) or more dwelling units in one (1) building. 

Multi-family housing does not include attached dwelling units in a PRD, duplexes, triplexes or fourplexes.

Small Dwelling Units

There are several scenarios in Island County under which Small Dwelling Units as a permanent dwelling unit can be constructed, but always require a building or a land use permit.