That plan to make it easier to turn the backyard of Capitol Hill and Seattle single family homes into new housing to help ease the city’s crunch…
“No one needs to be told that we’re in a housing crisis right now,” Mike O’Brien said. “Backyard cottages are a great place to add more capacity. They could happen in our single family neighborhoods, which cover the majority of our real estate, and [they] can be done in a way without having some of the visual impacts that some neighbors are concerned about.”
has hit a speed bump in Queen Anne:
The legislation encouraging more backyard cottages has been delayed due to an appeal filed by Marty Kaplan of the Queen Anne Community Council. We are now hoping to vote on the legislation by the end of the year. On May 19th, 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, and we should have a better understanding of the timeline in the next few weeks as the hearing date is scheduled.
An email from Council member Mike O’Brien’s staff revealed the filing Friday afternoon. The appeal document is embedded below.
The staffer email says O’Brien “will continue to pursue non-regulatory strategies to make both backyard cottages and mother-in-law apartments more affordable for homeowners” including “trying to work with the County on reducing or subsidizing the sewer capacity charge, looking into establishing a series of ‘pre-permitted’ designs, creating a guide for homeowners interested in building a backyard cottage, and working with lenders on creative financing tools.”
The appeal comes as Seattle looks for way to increase its housing stock even in areas where single family homes still dominate and amid debate about the role community councils should play in determining city policy and how much clout the groups should hold at City Hall.