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 diversity. 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

read about one families backyard cottage adventure



Drew, Jacob, Meredith and Elyse are building a backyard cottage and a muli-generational household. You can follow their progress at the following link.

the beginning

Friday, June 10

backyard cottage legislation update



The legislation encouraging more backyard cottages has been delayed due to an appeal filed by Marty Kaplan of the Queen Anne Community Council. http://web6.seattle.gov/Examiner/case/W-16-004 Seattle City council is now hoping to vote on the legislation by the end of the year.  

When the legislation was made public, the Office of Planning and Community Development for the City of Seattle issued a determination that the legislation would not have significant adverse environmental impacts. The Queen Anne Community Council is challenging that determination and will appeal to the Hearing Examiner. The process of being heard by the Hearing Examiner can take anywhere from 3 to 6 months. More information about the timeline will be available after the hearing date is scheduled.  

Council member Mike O'Brien will continue his work in the interim focusing on means to reduce the cost of backyard cottage construction. Most significantly working to reduce or eliminate the sewer capacity charge for backyard cottages. He will also work with lenders to establishing backyard cottage financing tools.

Those considering building a backyard cottage will for a time be left in limbo.  While the proposed legislation was not likely to alter the decision to build a backyard cottage, the changes are significant enough to drastically impact their design.  Unfortunately, this will make the planing process that much more complicated and add yet another barrier to their construction.