Small is the new green
Increasing environmental awareness along with economic and demographic trends favor smaller house sizes. Many cities are doing their part by updating zoning codes to allow cottage housing and small backyard cottages (detached ADU's) on residentially zoned lots. Seattle and Portland are two cities which allow backyard cottages up to 800 sq. ft. in size. These small houses provide opportunities for families, while increasing housing stock, density and affordability. Continue reading for more information about small house design and Seattle's backyard cottage ordinance or contact us to find out if your lot is eligible for a backyard cottage.
Monday, June 20
Drew, Jacob, Meredith and Elyse are building a backyard cottage and a muli-generational household. You can follow their progress at the following link.
Friday, June 10
Tuesday, May 31
The city council is set to review the recommendations for easing land use restrictions on building backyard cottages. These recommendations will go to city council for approval with anticipated action in July. Join us for a workshop July 21st to dissect the recommendations after city council has had a chance to weigh in. We will have an additional workshop in September following the anticipated adoption of the revised land-use code.
backyard cottages code updates Thursday, July 21st, from 7:00 to 9:00 pm, West Seattle Office Junction 6040, Suite B, California Ave SW, 98136
To find out how these changes might impact your specific plans feel free to contact us. We look forward to hearing how you plan to use our cottage.
Thursday, May 19
The seattle department of construction and inspection (SDCI) has released it's recommendations for easing land use restrictions on building backyard cottages. These recommendations will go to city council for approval with anticipated action in July and possible adoption in August.
The recommendations look a lot like the ideas to encourage the construction of backyard cottages previously presented in public meetings. As a mater of fact all of the policy suggestions presented in the meetings are being proposed with some additional details.
The most significant changes are an increase in allowable size for detached accessory dwelling units from 800 sq. ft. to 1,000 sq. ft. and decoupling the garage area from the allowable size. An increase in height limit will also make a big difference in some situations. Under the proposal owner occupancy would be required for only one year, rather than being abandoned altogether, in an attempt to limit speculative development interests. There are also a host of common sense code updates that are likely to improve the design of cottages whether or not they actually encourage more people to build them.
For a complete summary of the proposed changes
proposed code revisions
The public can comment on the proposed revisions through June 2nd by emailing Nick Welch at firstname.lastname@example.org
For a list of self guided backyard cottage tours please sign up for our backyard cottage invite list.
Monday, May 16
So what do cottage owner's talk about when they get together? The number one topic of conversation, after Donald Trump, was the $10,000 King County sewer capacity fee assessed to backyard cottages. Recently king county has begun charging the sewer capacity fee for backyard cottages as if they were new single family residences. Conversely, a much larger attached accessory dwelling unit or renovation of an existing residence does not pay the sewer capacity fee. It sounds like we will find out Wednesday if Seattle city council has been able to exert any pressure on King County for a more equitable assessment for backyard cottages.
After a series of public meetings, reviewing public comments, and interviewing backyard cottage owners the Seattle city council and Office of Planning and Community Development are poised to release a draft proposal of measures to encourage the construction of backyard cottages.