We're almost there--the committee passed the measure to allow backyard cottages in Seattle.Â Next stop will be City Council. There are some notable amendments to the ordinance--the 50 per year allowed cap has been eliminated.Â The heights have changed somewhat.Â A discussion to limit the cottage height to no more than 15' above the primary residence's roof (which would affect sloped lots primarily) was tabled without conclusion.
The discussion is a little strange, in that some of the requirements being tossed around are more stringent than for building a single family house.Â Case in point--if this relative height limit section passes, you will need a topographic survey to prove that the cottage conforms (not required on a new house if well within setbacks and under height), thus added about $2000 to the pricetag for the drawings.Â This doesn't make any sense if the city is serious about this as being an affortable option.
Another case in point--Councilmember Rasmussen was leaning toward a neighborhood notice, similar to a MUP, but the neighbor's recourse, provided the cottage design fits the requirements, is nil.Â The cottage is a Level 1 decision (no notice necessary, just like a new single family house), but creating such a provision would form a special class of notice ("Here is what is happening next door, but there is nothing you can do about it.Â Thanks for coming down.").
Unfortunately, I had to run out before the discussion on the privacy issue, another NIMBY favorite, but in the end the ordinance is one step closer to fruition.
You can see the entire meeting online at the Seattle Channel here. Â Backyard Cottage discussion starts at 107.30.