Category Archives: Backyard Cottages

City Council Poised to Gut Environmental Reviews, Monday October 7

On Monday October 7 at 2 PM, the City Council is rushing to take a final vote on CB 119600. This legislation will substantially weaken requirements for the environmental review of projects and policies under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA).

In the opinion of the Seattle Times Editorial Board:

“Don’t be fooled by [the] greenwashing. It does the environment no favors to weaken the State Environmental Policy Act… This will mostly benefit real estate investors trying to further cash in on the Amazon boom.”

“Seattle’s environmental community should also urge the council to reject this faux-environmental policy. They must resist the siren song of developer-friendly think tanks, telling tales of how the earth will be saved by bulldozing houses, cutting trees and replacing them with big apartments.”

“This [legislation] is about weakening policy written to protect the environment and quality of life for everyone. It reduces costs for the few who profit off land speculation.”

We urge you to contact all City Councilmembers with your concerns about CB 119600, and ask them to delay this legislation for consideration by the newly-elected Council next year. (Contact information is below.) You can further express your concerns by testifying at the City Council meeting on Monday October 7 at 2 PM in Council Chambers at Seattle City Hall.

There is no reason for the City Council to rush. Under state law, the City has until April 2021 to consider and adopt more reasonable and more environmentally friendly provisions. When our big issues are climate change, equity, and human health, the SEPA process should be strengthened, not weakened.

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City Council Vote on Backyard Cottage Zoning Changes, Monday July 1

City Councilmember Abel Pacheco and the Mayor need to hear from you before Monday. Contact them today!

Monday, July 1, 2019, 2:00 PM in Council Chambers at Seattle City Hall.

Councilmember Pacheco and the Mayor need to hear from you regarding proposed changes to the rules governing backyard cottages (Detached Accessory Dwelling Units or DADUs) and mother-in-law apartments (Attached Dwelling Units or ADUs) on single-family lots.

Currently, the City allows backyard cottages to be built on most single-family lots.

The proposed changes include:

  • Removing the owner occupancy requirement. (Currently, the owner must live on-site.)
  • Allowing both a mother-in-law apartment (ADU) and a backyard cottage (DADU) on the same lot, instead of one or the other, increasing the number of possible housing units on a single-family lot from two to three units.
  • Increasing the height and size of backyard cottages while reducing the minimum lot size.

Concern: These changes combine to turn single-family lots citywide into targets for developer and investor speculation as they open up having three rental units on one single-family lot and decreasing the opportunities for home ownership. The Seattle Times Editorial Board writes, “The new proposal is a wish list for developers, private and nonprofit, allowing nearly every single-family lot to be used for triplexes.”

There are more proposed changes to be concerned about in this upcoming legislation regarding open space, trees, setbacks and property lines, parking, etc… To read more about these concerns, click here.

Don’t be fooled by advocates calling this a moral imperative. This mostly helps politicians’ benefactors: developers and labor groups wanting license to build rentals virtually everywhere.
– The Seattle Times Editorial Board

Think about it and share your opinion of these proposals with your elected officials in city government. It’s important that they hear from you now. See below for a suggested message.

Please call and comment by email to our City Councilmembers:
Abel Pacheco: 206-684-8808, abel.pacheco@seattle.gov
Lisa Herbold: 206-684-8803, lisa.herbold@seattle.gov
Bruce Harrell: 206-684-8804, bruce.harrell@seattle.gov
Kshama Sawant: 206-684-8016, kshama.sawant@seattle.gov
Debora Juarez: 206-684-8805, debora.juarez@seattle.gov
Mike O’Brien: 206-684-8800, mike.obrien@seattle.gov
Sally Bagshaw: 206-684-8801, sally.bagshaw@seattle.gov
Teresa Mosqueda: 206-684-8806,  teresa.mosqueda@seattle.gov
Lorena González: 206-684-8802,  lorena.gonzalez@seattle.gov
All Councilmembers: council@seattle.gov

Please share your concerns with Mayor Durkan:
Mayor Durkan: 206-684-4000, jenny.durkan@seattle.gov


Feel free to send your own version of this suggested message:

I encourage you to keep the current accessory unit rules allowing ADUs & DADUs to remain in place, as is, with no rule changes.

The existing rules support both home ownership and the city’s goal for 4,000 additional rental units through ADU development over the next ten years. The success of the current program can be seen through the rate at which new ADUs have and are currently being built throughout Seattle.

Under the proposed changes, owner occupancy is being dismissed as a requirement. Without the owner occupancy requirement, single-family lots city-wide will be turned into targets for developers and investors looking to increase their rental portfolios. As the Seattle Times asks, “If the goals are increasing housing opportunity and reducing economic disparity, why not preserve and widen pathways to home ownership and the middle class?”

Home ownership creates stability for families, individuals, pets, schools, and neighborhoods.

Please vote No on the proposed rule changes to the current ADU/DADU legislation!

Sincerely,
[your name]


For more information:
To read the DRAFT ADU Legislation – click here.
For a Comprehensive List of Changes and Concerns – click here.
To read the Seattle Times Editorial on this subject – click here.
For a letter from Phinney Ridge Community Council – click here.
To read suggestions for how to both increase backyard cottages and retain opportunities for home ownership – click here.

City Council: Backyard Cottage Zoning Changes, Tuesday June 18

Zoning Changes for Backyard Cottages and Mother-in-Law Apartments and Home Ownership

Tuesday June 18, 2019, 2:00 PM
The Sustainability and Transportation Committee will consider and vote on the proposed legislation.

Currently, the City allows backyard cottages to be built on most single-family lots. On June 11 and before June 18, 2019, City Council members need to hear from you regarding proposed changes to the rules governing backyard cottages (Detached Accessory Dwelling Units or DADUs) and mother-in-law apartments (Attached Dwelling Units or ADUs) on single-family lots.

The proposed changes include:

  • Removing the owner occupancy requirement. (Currently, the owner must live on-site.)
  • Allowing both a mother-in-law apartment (ADU) and a backyard cottage (DADU) on the same lot, instead of one or the other, increasing the number of possible housing units on a single-family lot from two to three units.
  • Increasing the height and size of backyard cottages while reducing the minimum lot size.

Concern: These changes combine to turn single-family lots citywide into targets for developer and investor speculation as they open up having three rental units on one single-family lot and decreasing the opportunities for home ownership. The Seattle Times Editorial Board writes, “The new proposal is a wish list for developers, private and nonprofit, allowing nearly every single-family lot to be used for triplexes.”

There are more proposed changes to be concerned about in this upcoming legislation regarding open space, trees, setbacks and property lines, parking, etc… To read more about these concerns, click here.

Don’t be fooled by advocates calling this a moral imperative. This mostly helps politicians’ benefactors: developers and labor groups wanting license to build rentals virtually everywhere.
– The Seattle Times Editorial Board

Think about it and share your opinion of these proposals with your elected officials in city government. It’s important that they hear from you now. See below for a suggested message.

Continue reading

Public Hearing: Backyard Cottage Zoning Changes, Tuesday June 11

Zoning Changes for Backyard Cottages and Mother-in-Law Apartments and Home Ownership

Two events at City Council Chambers, 2nd floor, Seattle City Hall, 600 Fourth Ave on the proposed legislation.

Tuesday June 11, 2019, 5:30 PM
Public Hearing at City Hall
– Please attend if you can.  Arrive early to sign up to speak (usually two minutes per person).

Tuesday June 18, 2019, 2:00 PM
Possible Vote by the City Council.

Currently, the City allows backyard cottages to be built on most single-family lots. On June 11 and before June 18, 2019, City Council members need to hear from you regarding proposed changes to the rules governing backyard cottages (Detached Accessory Dwelling Units or DADUs) and mother-in-law apartments (Attached Dwelling Units or ADUs) on single-family lots.

The proposed changes include:

  • Removing the owner occupancy requirement. (Currently, the owner must live on-site.)
  • Allowing both a mother-in-law apartment (ADU) and a backyard cottage (DADU) on the same lot, instead of one or the other, increasing the number of possible housing units on a single-family lot from two to three units.
  • Increasing the height and size of backyard cottages while reducing the minimum lot size.

Concern: These changes combine to turn single-family lots citywide into targets for developer and investor speculation as they open up having three rental units on one single-family lot and decreasing the opportunities for home ownership. The Seattle Times Editorial Board writes, “The new proposal is a wish list for developers, private and nonprofit, allowing nearly every single-family lot to be used for triplexes.”

There are more proposed changes to be concerned about in this upcoming legislation regarding open space, trees, setbacks and property lines, parking, etc… To read more about these concerns, click here.

Don’t be fooled by advocates calling this a moral imperative. This mostly helps politicians’ benefactors: developers and labor groups wanting license to build rentals virtually everywhere.
– The Seattle Times Editorial Board

Think about it and share your opinion of these proposals with your elected officials in city government. It’s important that they hear from you now. See below for a suggested message.

Continue reading
Wallingford Community Council "Kite Hill" logo

Monthly Meeting, Wednesday June 5

Time: 7 PM.
Location: Room 202 of the Good Shepherd Center, 4659 Sunnyside Ave N.

Program:

Brad Topol, Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) Vision Zero, will present improvements for N/NE 40th Street focusing on safety treatments for pedestrian and bicycle crossings.

Christa Dumpys, SDOT, with updates on the Greenlake and Wallingford paving project, and the NE 43rd Street improvements project in U-District.

Agenda:

  • Welcome / Call to Order.
  • Committee reports.
  • Announcements:
    • The Wallingford Community Council and the Northeast District Council host a District 4 City Council Candidates Forum on Monday June 10, 7 PM at the Sand Point Learning Center, 5801 Sand Point Way NE.
    • Public Hearing on legislation to change regulations for Accessory Dwelling Units (Backyard Cottages). Tuesday June 11, 5:30 PM in Seattle City Council Chambers.
    • The Monthly Meeting on Wednesday July 3 is cancelled!
    • The next Monthly Meeting will be Wednesday August 7, 7 PM.
  • Good of the Order (anything people want to bring up).
  • Adjourn.
"Keep Seattle Livable" logo

Public Hearing on the MHA “Grand Bargain”, Thursday February 21

Express Your Concerns to the City Council

Please attend the only Public Hearing for the Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) legislation on Thursday February 21, 5:30 PM at Seattle City Hall in Council Chambers. Come early to sign up to testify. Arrive by 4:30 PM to secure an earlier speaking time.

Tell our City Councilmembers to VOTE NO on the MHA Legislation:
Despite input from neighborhoods all over Seattle, the MHA legislation has remained pretty much the same since it was first proposed. The City’s propaganda paints a story that the MHA Legislation is the only way to increase affordable housing in Seattle. What the city does not tell you is that it displaces as much as it replaces, that it does not work to grow the city in a way that simultaneously grows livability and quality of life, and that the fee-in-lieu payments are ridiculously low.

Also, while the “consent package” of amendments being considered for the legislation includes an intention, there is no adequate “claw-back” provision to revert the zoning back to present definitions should the City be sued and the mandatory part of MHA be found to be unlawful (leaving the up-zones in effect, increasing rents and property taxes, without any affordable housing units!).

Come support your neighborhood, your city, and the testimony of your neighbors. Everyone should attend to show the Council the serious commitment of our opposition to MHA at the Public Hearing.

(Childcare will be provided. Please RSVP to Noah An at noah.an@seattle.gov. At the hearing, check in at the sign-in table.)

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"Keep Seattle Livable" logo

Tell Mayor Durkan & City Council to Vote No on the MHA “Grand Bargain”

Time to Email, Call, and Write Mayor Durkan and the City Council

Tell Mayor Durkan that while the vision sounds good (we all want more affordable housing, both subsidized and naturally occurring), the devil is in the details. And the details do not support passing the Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) legislation.

Mayor Durkan and City Council need to hear from the people of Seattle before the final MHA hearing (which is February 21, during Seattle Public Schools winter break).

Please email, call, and write Mayor Durkan and our City Council members with your concerns and ask them to VOTE NO on the MHA Legislation.

Here is why:
Despite input from neighborhoods all over Seattle, the MHA legislation has remained pretty much the same since it was first proposed. The City’s propaganda paints a story that the MHA Legislation is the only way to increase affordable housing in Seattle. What the city does not tell you is that it displaces as much as it replaces, that it does not work to grow the city in a way that simultaneously grows livability and quality of life, and that the fee-in-lieu payments are ridiculously low. Also, there is no adequate “claw-back” provision to revert the zoning back to present definitions should the City be sued and the mandatory part of MHA be found to be unlawful (leaving the up-zones in effect, increasing rents and property taxes, without any affordable housing units!). 

Please email and call Mayor Durkan:jenny.durkan@seattle.gov; 206-684-4000; Mayor Jenny Durkan, PO Box 94749, Seattle, WA 98124-4749.

Please email and call City Council: lisa.herbold@seattle.gov, bruce.harrell@seattle.gov, kshama.sawant@seattle.gov, rob.johnson@seattle.gov, debora.juarez@seattle.gov, mike.obrien@seattle.gov, sally.bagshaw@seattle.gov, teresa.mosqueda@seattle.gov, lorena.gonzalez@seattle.gov; 206-684-2489; Seattle City Council, PO Box 34025, Seattle, WA 98124-4025.


Save the Date: Please plan to attend the only Public Hearing for the MHA legislation on Thursday February 21, 5:30 PM at Seattle City Hall in Council Chambers. Come early to sign up to testify.

If you can, attend the final consideration of the MHA legislation before the Select Committee on Monday February 25, 2:30 PM and before the Full Council on Monday March 18, 2:00 PM at Seattle City Hall in Council Chambers. Come early to sign up to testify.


Impacts here in Wallingford:

MHA FEIS Preferred Alternative Map for Wallingford Urban Village
  • If MHA passes, properties in the Wallingford Urban Village change from Single-Family to Lowrise-1, Lowrise-2, and even Lowrise-3 zoning (See maps below).
  • If MHA passes, 700 single-family homes will be up-zoned to multi-family zones.
  • If MHA passes, massive developments will be allowed next to houses. Many of the up-zones change building heights from three stories up to five stories!
  • If MHA passes, set-backs and step-backs to preserve yards, trees, and sunlight remain inadequate and may be greatly reduced by up-zoning.
  • If MHA passes, no affordable housing units will be required to be built on-site, and the fee-in-lieu payments provide a further discount to developers.
  • If MHA passes, it will decrease housing diversity and will drive families out of the urban villages. There are no requirements to build true family-sized three-bedroom housing.
  • If MHA passes, it will drive out local small businesses as there are no requirements for affordable leases in new buildings.
  • If MHA passes, property taxes increase for all up-zoned properties as adjacent properties are developed.
  • If MHA passes, rents will increase as new market-rate units are built.
  • If MHA passes, no on-site parking will be required in multi-unit buildings.
  • If MHA passes, the true displacement of low- and middle-income residents, and small businesses will go unknown as there is no requirement to track existing affordable housing and leases.
  • Whether or not MHA passes, the City (alone among Washington cities) will not have any Impact Fees to fund schools, parks, roads, and public safety!
MHA Zoning Changes for Wallingford Urban Village, Map 17
MHA Zoning Changes for Wallingford Urban Village, Map 16

MHA Zoning Changes for Wallingford Urban Village, Map 18


Why all the fuss? New to the HALA Grand Bargain MHA proposal? 

Wallingford Community Council "Kite Hill" logo

Monthly Meeting, Wednesday December 5

Time: 7 PM.
Location: Room 202 of the Good Shepherd Center, 4659 Sunnyside Ave N.

Agenda:

  • Welcome / Call to Order.
  • Special Guest: Martin Kaplan of the Queen Anne Community Council (QACC). He will review the current Accessory Dwelling Unit (mother-in-law apartment and backyard cottage) rules, and the Appeal by the QACC of the proposed new rules.
  • Update on the Appeal by the Seattle Coalition for Affordability, Livability, and Equity of the Environmental Impact Statement for the Mandatory Housing Affordability policy.
  • Committee reports.
  • Announcements:
    • The January Monthly Meeting is cancelled!
    • The next Monthly Meeting will be Wednesday February 6, 7 PM.
    • N 34th Street Mobility Improvements meeting Tuesday December 11, 4:30 – 6:00 PM at Fremont Brewing. (See the postcard.)
    • Time to renew your Wallingford Community Council (WCC) Membership!
      In 2017, the WCC moved to a calendar year membership. You can join at any time throughout the year, but to be a member for the full twelve months, please renew or join now!
  • Good of the Order (anything people want to bring up).
  • Adjourn.
"Keep Seattle Livable" logo

Deadline for ADU EIS Scoping Comments, Thursday November 16

Comments must be submitted by 5:00 PM tomorrow, Thursday November 16!

The City is proposing to change the Land Use Code to remove barriers to the creation of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) in single-family zones. The proposal allows for two ADUs instead of one per lot, removes existing off-street parking and owner-occupancy requirements, and changes development standards that regulate the size and location of detached units (DADUs).

We urge you to express your concerns regarding what issues the City should study in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Your comments may address these topics:

  • The objectives for this proposal are not clear. Better objectives might be more affordable housing, more family housing, preservation of tree canopy and yards, and development compatible with existing single-family housing.
  • Only one alternative is presented for this proposal. At least two alternatives to accomplish the objective are required. You may suggest alternatives to be studied.
  • The impacts of this proposal on neighborhoods, public services, and natural resources.
  • Measures to avoid, minimize, and mitigate the effects of this proposal.

Comments must be submitted by 5:00 PM on November 16 by:

Further information is available at the City’s Accessory Dwelling Units EIS website. The City will produce a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS).  When the DEIS is released, you will then have a chance to comment on the specific conclusions in that document.

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Wallingford Community Council "Kite Hill" logo

Monthly Meeting, Wednesday November 1

Location: Room 202 of the Good Shepherd Center4659 Sunnyside Ave N.
Time: 7:00 PM

Program: George Scarola, Permitted Homeless Encampment coming to Wallingford from Ballard.

Agenda:
7:00 PM – Welcome / Call to Order.
Approval of Minutes.
Committee reports.

Special Guests:
George Scarola, Department of Homelessness
The permitted tiny house homeless encampment in Ballard is moving to Wallingford in December.  George Scarola will explain the program and answer questions.  See below for more information on the Northlake area legal encampment.

NOTE: There will be another community meeting later in November; the Department of Homelessness is working to confirm a venue larger than Room 202.

Zach Carstensen, Director, Outreach & Engagement, Office of Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07).

Good of the Order (anything people want to bring up).
Announcements:

  • The next Monthly Meeting will be Wednesday December 6, 2017.
  • Emergency Preparation, City-wide Communication Hubs: To learn more about gathering and supporting each other in the event of earthquake, storm, or other large-scale emergencies, please visit http://www.seattle.gov/emergency-management/prepare/prepare-your-neighborhood.
  • The ADU EIS Scoping Comments are due 5:00 PM, November 1, 2017.
  • KOMO News and KING 5 covered the Thursday October 26 “Funeral of the Neighborhood Voice”.
  • The Roof is Now Open! As a result of a SEPA appeal by the WCC, public access to the roof of the new Tableau building at Woodlawn Avenue N & N 34th Street is open during business hours.  The Entry door is located next to Cafe Acadia. If the door is locked, ask at the Tableau reception desk for the door to be unlocked.

9:00 PM – Adjourn.

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