Downtown Seattle Adobe Stock/Iolya

Curbed Seattle reports the city council will move forward with fine tuning laws designed to increase the number of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) in the city and make them easier to get approved. The plan was nearly scuttled by an appeal filed by the Queen Anne Community Council (QACC) a local neighborhood group. Parking requirements, rental options and the ability to add more than one ADU on a property are all being considered.

For example: While currently, a homeowner would have to include a sometimes-expensive and often-intrusive parking spot with every ADU built on the property, the city could remove the parking requirement, or only require parking on a second ADU.

Owner-occupancy—the idea that to rent an ADU, the owner of the property must be living on it, too—could also go a couple of ways. Currently, a homeowner has to live on the property in order to rent out an ADU. In the city’s preferred alternative from its October study, the owner-occupancy requirement is eliminated for the first ADU, but a minimum of one year of continuous ownership would be required for a second ADU.

The concern, City Council member Mike O’Brien told us in early May, was that “developers will come in and tear down single family homes and build more new homes in backyard cottages.”“What the analysis showed was, no, that’s not actually going to happen,” said O’Brien. “It’s not a viable economic model ... but we are seeing a lot of developers tear down single family homes, and what they build is a bigger single family homes. And if we want to encourage folks to not do that and instead maintain existing family homes and build backyard cottages or in-law units.”

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