Councilmember O’Brien’s Statement Regarding Favorable Ruling on Accessory Dwelling Units: ‘I am thrilled’

Home » Councilmember O’Brien’s Statement Regarding Favorable Ruling on Accessory Dwelling Units: ‘I am thrilled’

Councilmember O’Brien’s Statement Regarding Favorable Ruling on Accessory Dwelling Units: ‘I am thrilled’

SEATTLE – Councilmember Mike O’Brien (Dist. 6, Northwest Seattle), chair of the Sustainability & Transportation Committee, issued the following statement today after the City of Seattle Deputy Hearing Examiner, Barbara Dykes Ehrlichman, ruled in favor of the City on an appeal of the adequacy of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) proposal. Her ruling affirms that the FEIS meets all applicable requirements and allows the Seattle City Council to act on the proposal.

“I am thrilled that the Deputy Hearing Examiner agrees that the city’s FEIS is adequate.  It means the Council can act early this summer to refine policies and provide a path for more people to build backyard cottages,” said O’Brien.

Since 1994 and 2010, respectively, attached ADUs (AADUs, that includes garden apartments, basement suites and in-law suites) and detached ADUs (DADUs, that includes backyard cottages, carriage houses), have been allowed citywide.

To encourage the creation of more ADUs, Councilmember O’Brien will introduce legislation (read draft legislation here) in the coming weeks establishing a maximum Floor Area Ratio (FAR) that limits the size of the home relative to the size of the lot; removing the requirement for property owners to live on the a property; allowing two accessory dwelling units on one lot; removing the off-street parking requirement; and other changes to the size and location development standards regulating ADUs. This includes increasing the maximum size of a DADU to 1,000 square feet, and increasing the height limit by 1 to 2 feet, with additional height allowed to accommodate green building strategies.

From 2014 to 2016, Councilmember O’Brien chaired the land use committee where he worked to identify land use strategies to address housing affordability. The Seattle City Council has considered amending rules around Accessory Dwelling Units since 2014, when the Council adopted Resolution 31547. The same year, City Council also adopted Resolution 31546, establishing the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA). In July 2015, the HALA Advisory Committee identified 65 strategies to meet the City’s ambitious goal of creating 50,000 homes, including preservation and production of 20,000 net new affordable homes, by 2025. The committee’s report included the recommendation to increase the supply of ADUs and underscored that ADUs offer several benefits, such as providing options for extended family to share housing resources, allowing homeowners to earn additional income, and offering additional rental housing options in family-friendly areas at a similar scale as surrounding single-family development.

ADU Legislation will be discussed at the following upcoming committee meetings:

2019 DateTopic
Wednesday, May 29
(special meeting of the S&T committee)
Briefing and discussion on proposed ADU legislation
Tuesday, June 11
(special evening meeting of the S&T committee)
Public Hearing on the proposed legislation
Tuesday, June 18Discussion and possible vote on amendments and proposed legislation

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