Seattle DADU code changes - almost there?

Closing arguments will be submitted on April 21st, and responses due April 26th, in the hearing concerning proposed land use code changes affecting backyard cottages and other ADUs. 

backyard cottage ballard 1 sm.jpg

this backyard cottage provides a home for proud grandparents in Ballard

Two years ago the City of Seattle proposed a number of code changes intended to promote the construction of DADUs and ADUs. Those changes include:

  • Allowing two ADUs on one lot

  • Removing the off-street parking requirement

  • Removing the owner-occupancy requirement and requiring one year of ownership when creating a second ADU

  • Modifying development standards that regulate the size, height, and location of DADUs

  • Increasing the household size limit for a lot with two ADUs

  • Establishing a new limit on the maximum size of single-family dwellings, excluding ADUs, equal to one half of the lot size (FAR = 0.5)

The city contends that the proposed changes will be radical enough to spur a wave of new construction in residential neighborhoods while not adversely impacting them. Others disagreed. In hearing an appeal brought by the Queen Anne Community Council, the Seattle Hearing Examiner ruled that City's original SEPA response was not adequate. This ruling launched a full blown study (EIS) into the potential environmental impacts of the proposed code changes. The Final EIS was issued last fall and the findings were again challenged. The appellants claim the EIS does not fully assess the impacts of increased development in residential neighborhoods. For the appeal, Tree PAC (concerned with the potential loss of urban tree canopy due to increased development), have joined the Queen Anne Community Council.

Whats Next?
If the Hearing Examiner rules that the EIS is sufficient, the City Council will consider legislation to implement the proposed Land Use Code changes as early as early summer.