Over the past year the Seattle City Mayor and City Council have been working on changes to portions of Seattle's zoning codes that deal with back yard cottages and mother in law units in single family neighborhoods. The changes are hoped to encourage greater density and a wider variety of housing options, including more units for lower income families.
In response to the proposed changes the Queen Anne Community Council (QACC) filed an appeal in an attempt to block the legislation. The appeal is set to be heard on this coming Wed. 8/31/2016 at 9:00am.
It is hard to guess how the appeal will go and how the timeline for the changes will play out but here are our thoughts...
- The Appeal succeeds -
- If the QACC's appeal is successful it will most likely have a significant drag on the timeline for the changes. We believe that some change will still likely occur however, it appears that the mayor and city council has the will to push the proposed changes regardless of the outcome of Wednesday's hearing.
- The Appeal Fails -
- If QACC's appeal fails it will help clear the path and speed up the proposed changes. That said there seems a good chance that the QACC (or someone else) may try another tactic to stall or block the changes if this one fails. Because of this is hard to know how long any changes will be delayed.
Of the proposed changes on the table, if we were placing bets, here's what we expect to pass council vote whenever that may be -
- Highly Likely -
- Increased max gross floor area for cottages
- Increased max height limit for cottages
- More flexibility for entry locations
- Reduction of parking requirements
- Easing of lot size requirements
- Easing of rear yard coverage requirements
- Possible -
- Total elimination of parking requirements
- Garage area does not count toward total max gross floor area
- A sunset clause for Owner Occupancy (we expect 3or more years on this one)
- Unlikely -
- ADU + DADU on same lot
- Complete removal of Owner Occupancy Agreement