Newly proposed microhousing rules go to Council committee Friday

The city’s first take at “microhousing” regulations is scheduled for a special meeting Friday (June 28th) of the City Council’s Planning, Land Use, and Sustainability Committee. That’s the date mentioned by DPD director Diane Sugimura when she visited the Southwest District Council earlier this month; now the agenda’s out, with the draft of what’s being proposed. The map above accompanies the agenda and includes four locations where microhousing is under construction or planned in our area. (See the addresses and unit counts on this list.) Among other things, as laid out in this memo, it sets up new terminology such as “micro dwelling unit” – up to 8 living units sharing a kitchen – and “congregate residences,” 9 or more living units sharing one. But the term “dwelling unit” will still apply to that group of up to 8 living units, for State Environmental Policy Act review purposes, anyway. And for purposes of tracking neighborhood growth, a group of four living units would count as one “unit.”

As for parking:

*Parking minimums are not required or are reduced in certain areas of the city, primarily
urban villages, centers and frequent transit served locations.

*Outside the areas noted above, required vehicle parking for most multi-family residential
uses is 1 required parking space for each dwelling unit (SMC 23.54.015).

*For congregate residences, and for assisted living facilities the vehicle parking requirement
is 1 space for each 4 residents.

*In areas of the city where parking is required, add a parking requirement for micro dwelling units
consistent to that of congregate residences: 1 space for 4 micros

*Currently the amount of required off street bicycle parking required for residential uses is one (1)
bicycle parking space for every 4 dwelling units in multifamily housing, and 1 bicycle parking
space for every twenty (20) residents in congregate residences. (Table E, SMC 23.54.015)

Micro dwelling units appear to have higher demand for bicycle usage than other forms of
development; increase the requirement for off-street bicycle parking for micro dwelling units to
1 bicycle space to 4 micros.

A later section of the memo addresses microhousing built in Residential Parking Zones, and says there should be up to four permits for each “micro dwelling unit.” Meantime, the agenda for Friday’s meeting also includes a memo from the Seattle Planning Commission, which says these types of apartments “fill a unique niche” in the city and should be permitted wherever multifamily development is allowed. But the SPC does think the buildings should be required to have more amenities. Friday’s meeting is at 9:30 am at City Hall.

5 Replies to "Newly proposed microhousing rules go to Council committee Friday"

  • Tuesday June 26, 2013 (9:15 pm)

    Try as they may to ignore the REALITY of car use… just because you DON’T BUILD IT… doesn’t mean they WON’T NEED TO PARK!

  • anonyme June 27, 2013 (7:35 am)

    Tuesday, I agree. If they’re only going to provide 1 parking space per 4 residents, then residents with cars should be limited to that number of spaces. Of course that still would not address the issue of crowding, traffic and infrastructure that West Seattle is not equipped to accommodate. We’re looking at several thousand more units in the Junction area in the next few years; how will that work? Maybe there should be a West Seattle ferry to downtown instead of just the Water Taxi.

  • Bettytheyeti June 27, 2013 (4:54 pm)

    Ballard is getting rail to downtown, were are their micro-housing units?

  • Fedup June 28, 2013 (1:37 am)

    Well, what can you really expect from the best city council money can buy? You know, if we keep re-electing these corrupt people, can we be all that surprised when they keep it up? How much more blatant can it get when they invent special arithmetic to keep handing out special favors to well connected real estate sharks?

  • NickN July 1, 2013 (12:37 am)

    No doubt the remaining bus service to low density neighborhoods will be repurposed to serve the high density building they are busy placing in West Seattle. This will save the city council the embarrassment of having to ask their friends the developers for transportation mitigation funding.

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