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KAPO wants mother-in-law answers

Your mother-in-law just won’t go away.

The Kitsap Alliance of Property Owners was back at the county commissioners board meeting Monday, once again supporting the rights of mother-in-laws apartments.

Kitsap County calls such living arrangements, Accessory Dwelling Units.

The county planning commission recently approved and passed up to the commissioners a proposal that would make it illegal to place ADU’s on non-conforming lots.

Last week it was KAPO’s Vivian Henderson lobbying the commissioners not to support the planning commission recommendation. This week, it was KAPO’s president, Jan Oleksiak.

“According to the county, non-conforming lots make up at least 53 percent of all rural property (in Kitsap County),” she said. “Most of the owners are not aware that the county considers their property ‘non-conforming.’ Most of them don’t know what “non-conforming” means.”

In simplest terms, a non-conforming lot is one that doesn’t conform to the zoning which applies in the area under question. Houses in urban zones have different requirement than houses in rural zones.

Oleksiak felt the confusion posed dangers for area property owners.

“Many (property owners) just don’t understand how the county is developing layers of legislation that will affect their legal rights to use their property to help themselves or family members by simply adding a permitted, separate living area to their property,” she said.

Oleksiak said the burden of clearing up the confusion belonged to the county commissioners.

“We feel it is our government’s duty to fully inform citizens when decisions are made that affect their property,” she said. “The Kitsap Alliance of Property Owners formally requests that the commissioners make written notification to every owner of a lot in Kitsap County with a full explanation of exactly what our law defines as a non-conforming lot. This notice should be in plain English, not ‘planner speak,’ or legally complicated language.”

“The board (of commissioners) has to talk about (ADU’s),” said North Kitsap Commissioner Chris Endresen. “I think it would be great if we could notify everybody about all the changes, not just one. But I don’t know if we can afford that, or the length of time it would take to do it.”

“I will totally not support taking the ADUs away from the property owners,” added South Kitsap Commissioner Jan Angel. “Absolutely not.

“They (ADU’s) have not been abused in the past,” Angel said. “It’s a very small percentage of applications anyway. I don’t think it has been abused and I don’t foresee it being abused in the future. I’m not going to support this (planning commission) recommendation.”

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