Monday, September 19, 2016

Accessory Units in Seattle


Accessory dwelling units can be traced back to the early twentieth century in cities throughout the United States, prior to the implementation of zoning regulations. In the 1940’s and 1950’s it was common for underutilized spaces within homes to be converted into private living spaces to satisfy changing family needs and provide rental income. Shortly thereafter a boom in urban sprawl and an emphasis on the nuclear family sparked concerns about perceived risks and impacts of ADU’s within neighborhoods, ultimately leading many jurisdictions to prohibit their construction.

Today, in Seattle and many cities throughout the country, the lack of affordable housing has brought this typology back into the forefront. In Seattle, ADUs have been allowed in all single family zoned lots since 1994 and DADUs since 2010 but unfortunately, only about 2,500 units have been constructed. Just 140 miles north in Vancouver, a city with less than half the number of single family homes, the total ADU + DADU count is more than tenfold. How can this be, you ask? Less restrictive regulations, city implemented incentives and a true desire to encourage growth. It's a similar prescriptive path which Seattle will be enacting, pending approval in the upcoming months, which will hopefully lead to similar results.

More in tomorrow's blog. Stay tuned!

Happy Investing!

Today's blog courtesy of David Taber, Neiman Taber Architects

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