VIDEO: All about HALA, DADUs, ADUs @ Morgan Community Association

If you weren’t able to get to last night’s presentations about the city’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) – organized by the Morgan Community Association with a West Seattle-wide focus – here’s the video we recorded so you can watch/listen. Both presentations were by city staffers – above, Jesseca Brand presented an overview of HALA (57 minutes); below, Nick Welch talked about backyard cottages and mother-in-law apartments (49 minutes), aka Detached Accessory Dwelling Units (DADUs) and Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs).

The presentations were preceded by a short MoCA business meeting, with some updates on neighborhood projects/issues – separate story about that later.

9 Replies to "VIDEO: All about HALA, DADUs, ADUs @ Morgan Community Association"

  • wetone January 21, 2016 (6:21 pm)

      City seems to be pushing  ADU’s and DADU’s as a answer to helping the so called housing crisis and being the answer to affordable rent. I see sometime much different. The only thing  that might pencil out  positive for property owner as far as income is the ADU’s. If one thinks building a DADU for a rental is good investment I would think real hard and do some homework. If for family members it could work out great . Cost to build a legal DADU in Seattle will run $125K+ if your paying a contractor to build. If one spends that kind of money to build a DADU the rent needs to cover cost  at minimum and how many years will it take just to break even ? especially if one got loan to build.  What I see is city and building industry pushing for more income. If city allows ADU’s and especially DADU’s to be non owner occupied property,  builders/developers will start buying every house they can adding DADU’s or subdividing bigger lots to get max use out of. Can one imagine a 4ksqft. lot with two builds next to your house ?   Say goodbye to residential neighborhoods having a yard, sunshine for the  garden and expect a lot more traffic…  

    • Developer Welfare January 21, 2016 (9:02 pm)

      WETONE – spot on! You have identified the true intent of HALA and the subdivision of single family lots. This will eventually push out all single family homeowners except in the wealthiest neighborhoods with covenants. The HALA committee wants single family homeowners to feel uncomfortable when they get boxed in so that they will sell to developers who can subdivide the lots and squeeze in more residents. No mention of what the plan is when the economy tanks again and there is no longer the demand for all this housing but the neighborhoods are already ruined.

  • I. Ponder January 21, 2016 (10:23 pm)

    I was at the meeting and I think WETONE and DEVELOPER WELFARE have personal issues that go beyond the reality of the situation. Lots big enough to be sub-divided can be sub-divided right now without HALA. Look around. It’s already happened. Backyard cottages (DADUs) and basement apartments (ADUs) are already allowed under current regulations but burdensome restrictions mean very few homeowners are willing to invest in building them. It’s hoped that by tweeking regulations, more homeowners may be willing to build backyard cottages and basement apartments. While this won’t create an enormous amount of new rentals, it will be part of the housing shortage solution. No more than 40% of a backyard space can be covered by a backyard cottage. Setbacks and open space are required. Currently, homeowners can sell their old classic homes to developers who will tear them down and build box houses with even more lot coverage and less open space. Backyard cottages mean established homeowners will be less likely to tear down their old classic houses. There are homeowners who want to stay in their homes and have a backyard cottage for elder family members or for themselves as they get older and want to downsize. Homeowners who are invested in their communities can benefit from rental income and be part of providing much-needed housing. This is already happening in Portland and Vancouver BC. Hopefully, Seattle’s current relatively-restrictive code will be modified to match what it is in those 2 cities, and that will create more of an incentive for homeowners to build more DADUs and ADUs. I don’t think there will be a huge boom in building these, but they are another leg of the housing stool. More housing is needed. No neighborhoods will be ruined by backyard cottages and basement mother-in-law apartments. The few I’ve seen are actually very cool. They currently range from doll-house-sized 400 square feet to 800 square feet. No bigger than your neighbor’s ugly garage. DADUs and ADUs are not something developers build. They are things homeowners who love their neighborhoods want to build. I know there’s no dissuading Chicken Little’s that the sky is not in fact falling, but that’s the case.

    • Developer Welfare January 22, 2016 (10:30 am)

      I Ponder – I wonder if you’ve ever built anything in Seattle. As WETONE noted – building one of these cost more than $125,000, and for many homeowners that’s just too much money. Have you recently built or renovated anything in this area – costs are sky high. But if you’re a developer and have connections to cheaper labor or the knowhow to DIY, under the proposed rules you could buy a property, build an extra unit, and rent both out. The current rules require the property owner to live on site – a good requirement if the intent of HALA is actually to expand availability of housing without giving developers a handout. It’s unfortunate that people who raise valid concerns about these issues get personally attacked for having “personal issues” and called names when they raise valid concerns/issues on this blog.

  • wetone January 22, 2016 (11:19 am)

    Ponder, I own property’s in WS and could build more than one DADU if city changes to non-owner occupied . But was born here and still respect my neighbors as they do the same. I want no part of the cluster this city has enabled, ruining many neighborhoods through-out Seattle. Having seen a few DADU’s  as you I enjoy the designs and use of space in builds, as I have worked in construction most my life.  But anyone that says DADU’s won’t impact neighboring lots is flat out a bad used car salesperson.  The Portland comparison make me laugh, as Seattle used their data and others early on to push apodment builds here. Funny thing today many in Portland say it was a huge mistake and has caused many problems. For a  normal house owner explain how spending money to build an DADU will pay for itself ? maybe if used as Airbnb , VRBO or Top Dollar rental and even then would take 15yrs to pay off if one borrows money to build. Just the opposite of how city is pushing ADU’s and DADU’s.  City wants the increased property taxes,  if used in short term rental city will be collecting other money’s coming in and building/investment people will be enjoying the benefits ($$$$)   . )  

  • Dryone January 23, 2016 (10:29 am)

    Let’s do the math to see who the real wet one is? Wetone’s numbers of a$125,000 loan to build equals about $700 per month loan service.   That leaves quite a bit of leeway for at least some income with cute new houses commanding $2,000.-Of course that $125,000 for 400 square feet equals a very high  construction cost of more than $300 per square foot when cheap new boxes are being built for less than $120 square foot.  -Long time poster Wetone’s history on this blog clearly shows personal issues in this area. -I don’t recall Wetone ever making positive posts, but his creatively distorted rants are so consistently negative, that I find them a compelling read.  Keep up the flak, Wetone! 

  • MorganResident January 23, 2016 (12:39 pm)

    I spent $75,000 turning my garage into a DADU. I refinanced at 3% and it added $100 onto my mortgage. I charge $1600/month and a sweet young couple lives there. I actually enjoy sharing my garden and property with others so it has been a win-win for me. ANd it has reduced financial stress for me as well.

  • Born on Alki59 January 23, 2016 (4:57 pm)

    Dryone,  obviously you have zero experience in new construction costs. No way you could add a new dadu to a backyard for under $120 SF.                       Just converting a garage is probably  $75k plus as a DIY project. Have you hired a contractor, plumber or electrician lately? Don’t forget that silly permit, the sewer you need to tie into, oh and the groundwater management, and the new SCL meter hookup …oh and you’ll likely need to run gas etc…I would say wetone’s estimate of $125k  for a new dadu is very conservative.  But you just keep on doing your armchair home design estimating, it’s a compelling read also.

  • Matt Hutchins, AIA January 23, 2016 (11:57 pm)

    As an architect who has helped almost a dozen families design DADUs since 2009,  I can attest that is possible but difficult to build a new cottage for under $120,000.  However that doesn’t mean that there aren’t compelling reasons for doing so, only some of which are financial.  My clients are using them for themselves as downsized homes during retirement, as long term rentals, as short term rentals, and as places for an elderly parent to come and stay for long periods of time.  The key is providing a range of housing options, and in doing so, more people are going to fit into a niche they can afford.  

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