The city is looking to change the rules regarding backyard cottages and in-law apartments, but is under orders to do an environmental review of the process first, as the result of a challenge by a community group in Queen Anne. The review process has just begun, according to a city announcement today requesting your comments – via e-mail as well as an upcoming West Seattle meeting. Here’s the announcement:
Today we announced the beginning of the environmental review process to study the potential effects of removing barriers to building accessory dwelling units (ADUs) in single-family zones. ADUs include backyard cottages, known as Detached Accessory Dwelling Units (DADUs), and in-law apartments, known as Attached Accessory Dwelling Units (AADUs).
The first phase of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process is to determine the scope of the study, and we want your input on what to consider and analyze as we explore allowing more ADUs in Seattle’s neighborhoods.
ADUs are small, secondary dwelling units inside, attached to, or in the rear yard of a single-family house. The City’s proposal involves allowing both an in-law apartment and a backyard cottage on the same lot, removing the existing off-street parking and owner-occupancy requirements, and changing some development standards that regulate the size and location of backyard cottages. Based on a decision from the City’s Hearing Examiner in December 2016, we’re preparing an EIS to review the potential environmental impacts of this proposal.
During the scoping phase, you can help us determine the alternatives we’ll study, potential environmental impacts to consider, and possible measures to avoid or reduce the effects of the proposal. Comments are due by 5:00 p.m. on November 1, 2017. You can give us your input in several ways:
by email: ADUEIS@seattle.gov
by mail to Aly Pennucci, Council Central Staff, PO Box 34025, Seattle, WA 98124-4025
in person at our two public scoping meetings.
One of those meetings is in West Seattle: Tuesday, October 17, 6:00-7:30 pm. at High Point Community Center, 6920 34th Ave SW.
An important thing to note: The meeting is NOT going to be a deep dive into the proposal – as noted here, it’s been added to the agenda for what was already an “open house”-style meeting about an even-more-complicated issue, whether to change the city’s Comprehensive Plan to remove language that, for some neighborhoods, conflicts with proposed HALA upzoning. That part of the meeting affects three specific “urban village” areas of West Seattle – The Junction, Morgan Junction, and Westwood-Highland Park – but the dwelling-unit part of the meeting involves neighborhoods citywide. We first wrote about the city’s plan in July.