Seattle City Council ADU Legislation

After a series of appeals, the Seattle City Council is considering legislation to increase backyard cottages and mother-in-law apartments in the city.

AIA Seattle supports the city’s goal (originally one of the 65 HALA recommendations) to encourage more backyard cottages by removing regulatory barriers and making it easier for property owners to create accessory dwelling units (ADUs). On May 13, Seattle’s Hearing Examiner ruled on an appeal of the final environmental impact statement related to the proposed changes, allowing the city’s ADU legislation to proceed. Councilmember Mike O’Brien is expected to introduce his ADU proposal (the current draft is here) on May 29, followed by public input at the Sustainability and Transportation Committee on June 11 and committee votes on amendments (and possibly the full legislation) on June 18.

The proposal will allow an AADU and a DADU on the same lot, would no longer require off-street parking for accessory units and would no longer require owners of properties with accessory units to live on site – among other changes. Click here for a full list of changes under the proposal.

Members: please take the time to provide comments on the proposed legislation to your legislators. These can be brief and can be made via email or phone (“Please support the ADU reforms”) or in person at the June 11 hearing. There will be another public hearing later in the summer when the full Council considers the legislation. Please identify yourself as an architect!

June 11 Public Hearing on the proposed ADU legislation
Sustainability and Transportation Committee (Councilmembers O’Brien, Pacheco, Sawant, Harrell)
Tuesday, June 11, from 5:30 – 9:30 pm
City Council Chambers

Public testimony is limited to two minutes per person. Focus on what is most important to you!

Resources from MOAR – More Options for Accessory Residences
On Tuesday, May 28 (5:15-8:15 pm), MOAR is hosting an open house for community members to learn and prepare for their June 11 testimony.
Sign up here for testimony alerts and resources from MOAR.
Talking points in support of the ADU legislation

Other resources
Seattle City Council ADU EIS page
O’Brien proposed ADU legislation text
Email your City Councilmembers

For more information, contact Kirsten Smith at AIA Seattle.