seattle backyard cottage blog

Backyard cottages (DADUs) provide opportunities for families, while increasing housing stock density and diversity. Continue reading for more information about Seattle's backyard cottage ordinance or contact us to find out if your lot is eligible for a backyard cottage..

Friday, October 26

owner occupancy requirement spotlight

What might it look like if the owner occupancy covenant were removed?

One developer explores the theoretical with a new independent condominium listings for a remodeled residence and a new backyard cottage.  As featured in Curbed

curbed seattle

Thursday, October 18


So now we know.  An appeal has been filed by the Queen Anne Community Council.  This will ultimately delay city council action by at least several months.

Wednesday, October 17

will a lawsuit delay implementation of the ADU EIS?

Stay tuned we should know by tomorrow.

Under SEPA, a 14-day appeal period follows the publication of a Final EIS. That appeal period will end tomorrow, October 18.  If no appeal is filed then the City Council will consider legislation to implement the proposed Land Use Code changes. Council will hold a public hearing. All Council meetings offer opportunities for public comment. 

Thursday, October 4

final ADU EIS issued

a backyard cottage in Capitol Hill

Almost two years on here is the final EIS report that studies the impacts of the following key changes to the land use code.

  • Allowing two ADUs on one lot
  • Removing the off-street parking requirement
  • Removing the owner-occupancy requirement and requiring one year of ownership when creating a second ADU
  • Modifying development standards that regulate the size, height, and location of DADUs
  • Increasing the household size limit for a lot with two ADUs
  • Establishing a new limit on the maximum size of single-family dwellings
To read the final EIS along with the preferred alternative click the following link. Final EIS

Whats Next?

The City Council will consider legislation to implement the proposed Land Use Code changes. Council will hold a public hearing. All Council meetings offer opportunities for public comment.


Further lawsuits are anticipated which will drag the process out likely until next year. Stay tuned for updates. 

City Preferred Alternatives

1. Number of ADU's on a lot:

City Preferred Alternative: Allow an ADU and DADU on lot while not requiring owner occupancy.

2. Parking: Remove parking requirement for 

City Preferred Alternative: No off-street parking required.

3. Owner Occupancy:  

City Preferred Alternative: No requirement for owner occupancy.

This is a real disappointment. The original proposal had required owner occupancy for a period of a year to minimize redevelopment pressure. The preferred method only requires that the lot has been under continuous ownership for a minimum of one year.  

4. Reduce minimum lot size:

City Preferred Alternative: reduce minimum lot size from 4,000 sq. ft. to 3,200 sq. ft.

5. Allowable cottage size increase:

City Preferred Alternative: Increase DADU size from 800 to 1,000 sq. ft. excluding garage and storage areas.

6. Additional Height:

City Preferred Alternative: Increase allowable height 1 to 3 ft.

7. Lot coverage Limit: Maintain.  

8. Rear yard coverage increase

City Preferred Alternative: Increase from 40% to 60%.

9. Rooftop features alternate: 

City Preferred Alternative: Allow

10. Location of entry alternate

 Allow entries on any fa├žade with 10 ft min. from nearest lot line

11: Maximum Household Size:

City Preferred Alternative: increase the household size from 8 to 12 for lots with three dwelling units.

12: MHA fees would apply when an owner applies for a second ADU.

City Preferred Alternative: No additional fees or incentives.

13: Reduce pre-development costs by 10%.  

Under consideration outside of EIS scope.

14. Introduce a maximum FAR ratio:

City Preferred Alternative: Establish floor area limits for new single-family residences.