Housing Action Plan

The City of Anacortes developed a Housing Action Plan, described in RCW 36.70A.600(2), to define strategies and actions that promote greater housing diversity, affordability, and access to opportunity for residents of all income levels.  

Why a Housing Action Plan?

Housing affordability is a high priority for all residents of the City. While there have been discussions about housing policies at both the local and county-levels, a comprehensive local strategy with policies, regulations, and codes is needed.  The Housing Action Plan will maximize existing policies, create strategies to fill needed gaps, and present a unified housing vision for the City today and beyond.

By developing a Housing Action Plan, the City will develop effective and achievable policy recommendations, based on a thorough housing needs assessment, supported by both city leadership and residents.

Resulting Housing Action Plan strategies will be used to further inform and develop the Housing Element of the Comprehensive Plan, scheduled to be updated by June 30, 2025.

The goal of the HAP will be to encourage construction of additional affordable and market rate housing in a greater variety of housing types and at prices accessible to a greater variety of incomes. This plan will include (but won’t be limited to) strategies aimed at the for-profit single-family home market. 

To identify and develop the strategies and actions to promote greater housing diversity, affordability, and access to opportunity for residents, the City of Anacortes applied for and received a $75,000 grant from the Washington State Department of Commerce (under E2SHB 1923). The City worked with Makers Architecture & Urban Design to create a well-developed plan. 


Project documents are PDF files and listed in chronological order from newest to oldest. 

Previous housing planning efforts:

  • In 2016, the City Council adopted a new Housing Element of the City’s Comprehensive Plan. Those goals and policies will help establish the foundation for the Housing Action Plan's strategies and recommended actions.
  • In 2017, the City Council adopted an Affordable Housing Strategic Plan, developed by the City Council Housing Affordability and Community Services Committee (“HACS”). HACS has been actively engaged throughout the Housing Action Plan process, collecting information from service providers and citizens to identify missing services. The Committee will work directly with the consultant to provide their findings and provide recommendations as appropriate.

Elements of the Housing Action Plan project:

To provide a Housing Action Plan which delivers effective and pertinent strategies and recommended actions, several vital elements need to be addressed. In addition to a balanced and functional document for use by the City, the Housing Action Plan includes specific items to satisfy grant requirements. The following are key elements:

  • Existing Conditions and Housing Needs Analysis Report: Identify demand for housing types among current population with a focus on special needs housing, supportive housing, and the needs of cost-burdened residents. 
  • Public Engagement Plan: The Public Engagement Plan includes forums to receive valuable public input, working with the Housing Affordability & Community Services committee, interactive website, assembly of citizens and stakeholders to obtain input, and frequent staff presentations to the Planning Commission and City Council.
  • Evaluation and Development of Policies and Tools for Increasing Housing Diversity: Investigate the specific strategies identified in the Comprehensive Plan Housing Element and the Affordable Housing Strategic Plan including inclusionary zoning and fee-in-lieu strategies, inventory of surplus public land, fee waivers/reductions, and review of permitted housing types and zoning standards.
  • Housing Needs Assessment: The Housing Needs Assessment is a comprehensive study of Anacortes's demographic and workforce profile, income, housing market supply and condition, and land capacity analysis. The Assessment's purpose is to examine all pertinent existing and projected data to identify housing trends, needs or gaps which would need to be addressed.
  • Housing Action Plan: The Action Plan combines and synthesizes all the information and proposes strategies and actions designed to meet and potentially satisfy the identified trends, needs, or gaps.

Background Information


For example, 30% of MFI is a $624 monthly payment or a $113,000 purchase price.