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Housing

City Council Considers Zoning Changes for Backyard Cottages & Mother-in-Law Apartments, and Home Ownership

Tuesday, June 11, 2019, 5:30pm ADU/DADU Public Hearing at City Hall – please attend if you can.  Arrive early to sign up to speak (usually two minutes / person)
June 18, 2019, 2:00pm Possible Vote by City Council


FNC presents this information from the Wallingford Community Council–the Fremont Neighborhood Council has not taken a formal position on many of these details:

Currently, the City allows backyard cottages to be built on most single-family lots.  On June 11th and before June 18th, 2019, City Council members need to hear from you regarding proposed changes to the rules governing backyard cottages (Detached Accessory Dwelling Units or DADUs) and mother-in-law apartments (Attached Dwelling Units or ADUs) on single-family lots.
The proposed changes include:

  • Removing the owner occupancy requirement (currently, the owner must live on-site)
  • Allowing both a mother-in-law apartment (ADU) and a backyard cottage (DADU) on the same lot, instead of one or the other, increasing the number of possible housing units on a single-family lot from two to three
  • Increasing the height and size of backyard cottages while reducing the minimum lot size

[Wallingford Community Council’s] Concern: These changes combine to turn single-family lots citywide into targets for developer and investor speculation as they open up having three rental units on one single-family lot and decreasing the opportunities for home ownership.  The Seattle Times Editorial Board writes, “The new proposal is a wish list for developers, private and nonprofit, allowing nearly every single-family lot to be used for triplexes.”
[WCC continues:] There are more proposed changes to be concerned about in this upcoming legislation regarding open space, trees, setbacks and property lines, parking, etc..  To read more about these concerns, click here.
 
 “Don’t be fooled by advocates calling this a moral imperative. This mostly helps politicians’ benefactors: developers and labor groups wanting license to build rentals virtually everywhere.” 
– Seattle Times Editorial Board

Proposed ADU / DADU legislation – two events happening at City Council Chambers, 2nd floor, Seattle City Hall, 600 Fourth Avenue

Tuesday, June 11, 2019, 5:30pm Public Hearing at City Hall – please attend if you can.  Arrive early to sign up to speak (usually two minutes / person)
June 18, 2019, 2:00pm Possible Vote by City Council


Think about it and share your opinion of these proposals with your elected officials in city government.  It’s important that they hear from you now.  See below for [the Wallingford Community Council’s] suggested message.

Please call and comment by email to our City Councilmembers:
Abel Pacheco: 206-684-8808,  Abel.Pacheco@seattle.gov
Lisa Herbold: 206-684-8803,  lisa.herbold@seattle.gov
Bruce Harrell: 206-684-8804,  bruce.harrell@seattle.gov
Kshama Sawant: 206-684-8016,  kshama.sawant@seattle.gov
Debora Juarez: 206-684-8805,  debora.juarez@seattle.gov
Mike O’Brien: 206-684-8800,  mike.obrien@seattle.gov
Sally Bagshaw: 206-684-8801,  sally.bagshaw@seattle.gov
Teresa Mosqueda: 206-684-8806,  Teresa.Mosqueda@seattle.gov
Lorena Gonzalez: 206-684-8802,  lorena.gonzalez@seattle.gov
 
Please share your concerns with Mayor Durkan:
Mayor Durkan: 206.684.4000,  Jenny.Durkan@seattle.gov
 


Feel free to send your version of this [WCC] suggested message:

I encourage you to keep the current accessory unit rules allowing ADUs & DADUs to remain in place, as is, with no rule changes. 
 
The existing rules support both home ownership and the city’s goal for additional rental units through ADU development.  The success of the current program can be seen through the rate at which new ADUs have and are currently being built throughout Seattle.
 
Under the proposed changes, owner occupancy is being dismissed as a requirement.  Without the owner occupancy requirement, single-family lots city-wide will be turned into targets for developer and investors looking to increase their rental portfolios.  As the Seattle Times asks, “If the goals are increasing housing opportunity and reducing economic disparity, why not preserve and widen pathways to home ownership and the middle class?”  
 
Please vote No on the proposed rule changes to the current ADU / DADU legislation.

Sincerely,
your name

For more information:

To read the DRAFT ADU Legislation – click here
For a Comprehensive List of Changes and Concerns – click here
To read the Seattle Times Editorial on this subject – click here
For a letter from Phinney Ridge Community Council – click here

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