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New Proposal Seeks to Expand Seattle Housing Options

Phil Hall
May 20, 2016
A member of the Seattle City Council is offering a proposal to expand existing legislation on the construction of backyard cottages and so-called “mother-in-law units” as a strategy to alleviate problems in the local housing market

A member of the Seattle City Council is offering a proposal to expand existing legislation on the construction of backyard cottages and so-called “mother-in-law units” as a strategy to alleviate problems in the local housing market.

According to a KING5.com report, the council passed similar legislation seven years ago, but less than 200 units were constructed. The new proposal by Councilmember Mike O’Brien updates the earlier law by changing the restricted size of the units from 800 square feet to 1,000 and reducing the lot size from 4,000 square feet to 3,200. Current garage space would not count in the proposed changes.

Seattle requires these units to have off-street parking in most cases, but it is now considering dropping that rule. O’Brien’s noted that if only 10 percent of qualified Seattle houses add units, there would be 8,000 to 10,000 new units available in the city.

“We’re essentially going to remove some barriers to allow our community members, our homeowners, our residents to use their innovation and creativity to create some new opportunities for people to live,” O’Brien said.

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