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Seattle City Council dramatically changes house-building rules

Seattle-designed prefab backyard cottage. Photo: Andrew Pogue/Courtesy of Node and Wittman Estes

Seattle Times | Daniel Beekman

This move is intended to reduce barriers to building accessory dwelling units (ADUs) and rein in McMansions in single-family zones. The major idea goal of the ADU reform is affordability, but critics are concerned it could change the landscape of established neighborhoods while reducing home-ownership opportunities. If signed by Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, most rules would go into effect within 30 days. 

The Seattle City Council voted unanimously Monday to enable the construction of more and larger backyard cottages in all neighborhoods while removing requirements that property owners live on site and provide off-street parking.

Councilmember Mike O’Brien and other proponents touted the new rules for accessory units as a gentle and environmentally-sustainable way to add living options in response to the city’s population growth. They say it will open up pricey neighborhoods to people who can’t afford to buy or rent single-family houses.

To read the full story, click here: Seattle City Council OKs more and larger backyard cottages; restricts McMansions

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