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Household income groups are not differentiated by household size in the Census. However, income ranges for different household sizes are used by the State and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to determine eligibility for various state and federal housing programs.
Like many complicated problems, there is no single, simple solution. The County needs to address availability of land, cost of land, availability of infrastructure, and a lack of experienced developers. The County has a number of programs ready to attack various parts of the housing affordability problem. Please view the
There are two organizations in San Juan County whose mission includes protection of farmland. For more information about the criteria, benefits and opportunities, visit their websites or contact them directly.
Yes. Farms that are being commercially farmed may benefit from reduced property taxes that are based on the current use as agriculture instead of highest and best use. To be eligible, the landowner must meet certain criteria as specified in Washington State rules and code: RCW 84.34 and WAC 458.30. The SJC Assessor oversees compliance with the program. More information on property tax programs is available at www.sanjuanco.com/assessor, or contact the San Juan County Assessor at 360-378-2172.
Yes, the county has adopted certain regulations that determine allowable uses on land designated for agricultural use. To find out more, contact San Juan County Community Development and Planning Department at 360-378-2354.
The Conservation District is your source of information for different approaches to farm management. Contact the Resource Planners at 360-378-6621 or contact Bruce Gregory at firstname.lastname@example.org or Danna Kinsey at email@example.com.
The San Juan County Conservation District can help you prepare a farm plan. Check their website to see a template of the elements of a farm plan. Contact Bruce Gregory at firstname.lastname@example.org or Danna Kinsey at email@example.com or call 360-378-6621.
There are many opportunities to purchase local far products, including Farmers' Markets, farm stands and at certain restaurants and businesses that source local foods. To find out more got to Island Grown.
The only way to appeal an assessor's valuation of your property is by timely filing a complete appeal petition with the San Juan County Board of Equalization. There is no fee charged for filing an appeal. The appeal petition form must be used. A letter or phone call is not acceptable as a substitute for the petition form. You may file your petition online by sending your paperwork to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by putting your paperwork in our drop box at 55 Second Street North (county legislative building) to file. You may also submit your petition paperwork by mail.
A property owner or "taxpayer" may appeal. Taxpayer means the person or entity whose name and address appears on the assessment rolls, or their duly authorized agent. If you are filing as a duly authorized agent, you will be asked to provide proper documentation to show the relationship.
July 1st of the current assessment year or within 30 days of when the "San Juan County Change of Value Notice" was mailed by the Assessor’s Office. If you mail your petition, it must be postmarked by midnight of the deadline. You may also submit your petition via email or via fax. If you are appealing other Assessor determinations, for example, denial of an application for Open Space or a removal from the Open Space program by the Assessor, you also have 30 days from the date of the mailing of notification.
If you have missed the filing deadline, you may file a request a good cause waiver with the Board of Equalization if you feel you meet the requirements of WAC 458-14-056 (3) or request to reconvene the Board under WAC 458-14-127 by filling out the appropriate form. You must be prepared to submit supporting documentation. The forms can be found here on the main page of the San Juan County Board of Equalization website. Once received, the Clerk will forward your request to the Board for review. The board clerk will notify you in writing of confirmation or denial of your petition.
The petition form has clear directions attached. Your properly completed petition must include specific reasons why you believe that the assessor's valuation is not correct. The amount of tax, the percentage of assessment increase, personal hardship, and other matters unrelated to market value cannot, by law, be considered by the Board. Include the parcel number of the property you are appealing on. A separate petition must be completed for every individual parcel. Also include the Assessor's determination of value, other appraisal information, your estimate of value, recent sales of comparable properties, or other supporting information for your appeal. Be sure to indicate if you intend to submit additional evidence prior to the hearing.
The Clerk of the Board of Equalization will notify you of the location, date, and time that your hearing is scheduled. A reasonable accommodation for scheduling is possible. You are not required to be present at your appeal hearing.
If you did not submit your documentary evidence at the time of filing your petition, your documentary evidence needs to be submitted to the Clerk of the Board and the Assessor’s Office at least 21 business days, excluding legal holidays, prior to your scheduled hearing.
You and the Assessor will each have an opportunity to give oral testimony and written evidence in support of your opinions of value. You may cross examine each other and rebut evidence. The hearing is an informal review designed to enable property owners to represent themselves without an attorney. Keep in mind that per RCW 84.40.0301, the original value set by the assessor is presumed to be correct. The burden of proof is on you to show that the assessed value is not correct by presenting a standard of "clear, cogent and convincing evidence" such as comparable sales data, cost data, income data, or any other items of evidence including maps or photographs, to support your estimate of value.
You will receive a written decision from the Board usually within 45 days of the hearing. The Board can either raise, lower, or sustain the Assessor’s value.
You may appeal the County Board's decision to the Washington State Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) by filing an appeal directly with the State within 30 days of the mailing of the County Board's decision. Forms are available online at the BTA's website. You may also pay your property taxes "under protest", (consult with the San Juan County Treasurer's Office for direction) and petition the Superior Court for a refund by filing a lawsuit under Chapter 84.68 RCW.
San Juan County’s functions are housed in a variety of facilities and sites that have developed sporadically over time. Administration, Community Development, Health and Community Services, several Elected Official’s offices, and Public Works functions are located in several facilities in the Town of Friday Harbor. The current configuration does not support efficient operations or customer service. Many facilities are inappropriate for their current use, difficult to renovate to support modern operations, and are becoming increasingly costly to maintain.
This new Civic Campus will bring these departments together to increase efficiencies, reduce operating costs, and provide better service to County residents. The new Campus will also provide new inside and outside spaces for community use. This is intended to be an amenity for the community, not just a facility for the County.
The new Civic Campus is intended to house the County Administration (County Manager, Information Services, and Facilities Manager), County Council, Department of Community Development, Health and Community Services, Public Works (except Maintenance and Fleet), and the Assessor, Auditor, and Treasurer’s Offices. Others, like the Prosecutor, District and Superior Courts, and Sheriff, will continue to be located in the Courthouse.
Depending on the outcome of this study, the County may decide to sell some of its current properties if they are determined to no longer meet the needs of the County. This revenue will be used to help offset the cost of the new building. Some of these sites that are near the new Civic Campus may also be used for employee parking. Spaces vacated by the Assessor, Auditor, and Treasurer’s Offices may be re-purposed for use by the courts or Sheriff. The courthouse will still be in use.
We will do a cost estimate based on the preferred alternative. Throughout the design process, the team will be cost-conscious, looking for ways to meet all of our needs while using space efficiently. This is an investment for the future. Once we are in a shared space with more up-to-date and energy-efficient systems, we anticipateSan Juan County Civic Campus Plan that we will spend less on the operations of a new facility than we do now on several separate facilities that require significant and continual maintenance.
The timing will depend on securing funding for construction. Once this Plan is complete and we have the preferred design alternative, it will go before the County Council. Ultimately the timeline will depend on Council review and action as well as obtaining financing.
There are two possible sites. The first option is in the triangle-shaped parcel bounded by Second St, Reed, and Blair. That is where some of the County offices are already located. The other possible site is across the street, where there is currently a parking lot shared by the Community Theater and the Courthouse. We understand that that parking lot is heavily used and that some parking would need to be retained on that site with any displaced parking spaces replaced with adequate and convenient parking nearby.
We will be evaluating these two options based on community input, County staff input, and the square footage needed to accommodate all of our functions.
The campus plan will detail how the designated County departments and functions will be incorporated into a new single campus on County-owned property in Friday Harbor. The plan will also detail the inclusion of community space to support public gathering and programming.
We will develop a few possible design concepts with site plans and three-dimensional illustrations to establish the desired site and building character and convey the development vision. We will share those visuals for community and County staff feedback. That will inform the development of a preferred alternative, which will be presented to the County Council.
The planning process began in late January 2018 and is expected to conclude in late summer 2018.
Early in the process, the public is invited to weigh in on the vision for the new Campus, community needs and uses that we should aim to accommodate, the character of the building, indoor and outdoor spaces, and public amenities. Your input will directly influence the work that the urban planners, landscape architects, and architects will do as they develop various design concepts.
A couple of months later, you will have the opportunity to review the different design concepts and let us know which ones you prefer, and why. We will carefully consider the input that we receive when we determine which of the design concepts will become the final one that is presented to Council. We would like to have a final plan that has broad community support and meets community needs, in addition to the needs of County departments.
Soon! We will have an online survey available in early March to gather initial input on the vision and priorities for this new Civic Campus. We plan to have a virtual open house with an additional short survey available online in early June to gather feedback on the alternative design concepts. Finally, there will be a short public comment period later in the summer where you can comment on the design that has been marked as the preferred alternative.
This is your opportunity to tell us your priorities when it comes to the new Civic Campus. The Civic Campus will be located in Friday Harbor but it needs to effectively serve the whole community across all of the San Juan Islands.
We want the design to reflect local priorities and preferences. We are issuing the survey very early in the process so that we can really listen and use your input to directly influence the very first design concepts. The County wants to provide the highest-priority amenities for the community.
We want to reach as many people as possible from across all of the islands, and a survey is an efficient and convenient way to do that.
San Juan County has adopted the state building codes and has adopted some amendments to them. This list of Design Criteria will help professionals correctly determine how to design structures built in our our area.
International Residential Code as amended by the state: IRC
International Building Code: IBC
WA state Building code council: SBCC.wa.gov
SJCC: San Juan County codes
First thing to do is to check and see if the proposed work actually needs a permit. SJC has a list of items that are exempt from permitting. Additionally we offer some insight for pre-application assistance.
If your project does require a permit, you can find permit applications here Permit Applications.
If you are ready to apply for your permit, please create an account and check out our Permit Portal
1. Standard Residential Building permit: Most common permit type for Single Family Residence (SFR) built using the International Residential Building Code (IRC). This will cover a 1 or 2 family residence or accessory structure 35’ in height *(max) and 3 stories tall. Standard building and energy codes apply.
2. Commercial Building permit: This permit involves new construction AND changes in occupancy from one class to another for commercial uses like: Offices, Mercantile, Assembly, Retail, Storage, or Hazardous occupancy. ALL occupancy classes will be governed by the International BUILDING Code (IBC) and WA state commercial energy code.
3. Remodel/Addition permit: Same as above, just smaller in scope. May have the same application and permit document requirements depending on size of project.
4. Plumbing/Mechanical permit, or Single trade: Single trades like adding a LPG tank and heater, or new furnace or water heater. Typically only involves the Plumbing or Mechanical aspect of the codes. If you are adding square footage, or remodeling a house, use standard building permit (Residential or Commercial)
5. Demo Permit: Removes a structure completely. Demo permits are required to remove the structure from the tax assessor’s inventory. Moved structures require Demo permits.
6. Moved structure permit: Used when moving an existing approved building to a new location, even when on the same lot. Permission to move on County roads is required. Moved structure will require permitting and approval PRIOR to placing at new location.
7. Revision: Permit to revise or change scope of work from approved plans. Revisions are required when; adding new sq/ft, or height of building, siting the building at a different location on the same lot, changing number of bedrooms or egress, adding fixtures not previous approved, and changing the construction of the building which requires new plan review (like changing roof type, or revised engineering).
8. Owner Builder: (standard-Occupied structure) and OB Exempt(non-occupied structure): San Juan County is unique in that we offer a different permit type in which the owner can build their own building and it is exempt from the structural parts of the IRC. 15.04.540 governs the construction of Owner built structures in San Juan County. There are some restrictions, please refer to the county code for details.
Applications can be found here: Permit applications.
Our permit packets contain a list of items that are needed for a complete submittal. It's nearly impossible to create a comprehensive list of items for every different scenario. However, the list shown in each application packet will guide you when you are ready to upload and submit your application. (some permit applications are currently undergoing changes due to recent code updates, and we update them regularly on our website. Be sure you are using the most current version, and include all the relevant documents when applying.pre-application assistance page provides some drawing examples if you need help.
There is a checklist that may also guide you for compiling your documents.
SJC and the state of Washington have adopted an energy code that has increased requirements over time to combat climate change. It requires that new buildings and remodel work meet ever increasing standards for efficiency and energy savings. The 2018 version of this code has increased the requirements of the number of credits required to get approval of a single family dwelling in our state. In fact ALL Residential construction is subject to the energy code requirements and credits.
Depending on the size and scope of your project, you may be required to attain additional credits by using energy efficient equipment, or adding insulation, or adding other energy saving methods during construction. The form for the 2018 energy code and its worksheets can be found online at : Energy code WA state. The site has in depth information and training options available, please make time to review this information prior to submitting applications, or questioning staff.
The forms are also available on our permit application webpage
This information, and compliance with the energy code standards is required when submitting a permit application.
San Juan County has switched to a paperless system for, applying, issuing, and tracking permits. ALL permit applications are handled through the SmartGov permit portal.
Here are some handy links and instructions:
DCD webpage home:
Pre App assistance and info:
Buildings exempt from permits:
WSEC: new changes for 2018 you’ll need to be aware of!
Free IRC/IBC access to codes:
Upcodes.com - Free access
Here are the instructions for signing up on the public portal for your permit
You only need to do this one time to connect your account with all of your permits. This will allow you to access your permit, pay fees online, and schedule inspections. Detailed instructions below:
If you are SIGNING UP,
1) GO TO: https://co-sanjuan-wa.smartgovcommunity.com/Public/Home and click on “sign up”
2) Enter your e-mail address and a password:
3) You will receive a verification link in your e-mail.
4) Click on the “Verify” button to verify your e-mail address.
5) Return to the browser
6) Log out and log back in again.
Many functions are available on the portal:
APPLYING FOR PERMITS(No access code required, but if you already have one, please use it to avoid multiple accounts and inability to view all permits together. Each account has a unique portal access code, do not give yours out. Contact DCD@sanjuanco.comfor your code AFTER you have signed up.)
1) Click on MY PORTAL to apply, view permits, or request inspections etc.
2) Click on Apply Online
3) Select Category: Building, Land Use, or Fire Marshal (Addressing falls under the category of Building) (ALL BUILDING PERMIT APPLICATIONS WILL FALL UNDER ‘BUILDING SUBMITTAL’, UNLESS SPECIFICALLY LISTED). You can choose “REVISION” if you are updating an existing active permit. Expired permits must be renewed, or re-applied for.
4) Select Application: Select the type of application you are applying for.