Friday, September 23, 2016

ADU Policy Changes


The following is the list of proposed policy changes, when implemented, should encourage the construction of more ADUs and DADUs throughout the city of Seattle.

1. Allow an ADU and DADU on the same lot

Current policy stipulates that a single-family lot can have an ADU or a DADU, but not both. New legislation would allow single-family lots to have an ADU and a DADU.

2. Remove off-street parking requirements

Current regulations require one additional off-street parking space for either an ADU or DADU unless the lot is located in an urban village. New legislation eliminates the off-street parking requirement.

3. Modify the owner occupancy requirement

Current regulations require that the property owner occupy either the main house or the ADU/DADU. New legislation would terminate the requirement 12 months after the final inspection for the building permit. Unfortunately this is only a partial step in the right direction. The owner occupancy requirement is a significant hurdle for construction financing, as the bank cannot rent out the ADU/DADU in the event of a default. This modification may not have much of an impact on production.

4. Reduce the minimum lot size for DADUs

Current regulations stipulate that only lots 4,000 square feet and larger can have DADU’s. New
legislation would reduce the minimum lot size to 3,200 SF. However, all other development standards that regulate the location and scale of DADU’s, such as minimum separation between structures and the maximum lot coverage limit, would remain in effect.

5. Modify the maximum height limit for DADUs

Current regulations determine the maximum height of a DADU based on the width of the lot, with overall height limits set too low to allow conventional roof geometry. New legislation would simplify this standard and slightly increases the maximum height limit up to 2 feet depending on the lot width.

6. Modify the rear yard coverage limit for DADUs

Current regulations limit coverage of a required rear yard to no more than 40 percent. New legislation would allow an additional 20 percent coverage only for one-story DADUs to provide flexibility for property owners who may wish to design a DADU without stairs for mobility or universal design reasons.

7. Modify maximum gross square footage limits

Currently, ADUs are limited to 1,000 square feet and DADUs to 800 square feet. New legislation would maintain a 1,000 square feet limit for ADUs and increase the DADU limit to the same 1,000 square feet. This legislation also removes garage and storage space from counting towards the maximum gross square footage for ADUs and DADUs.

8. Add flexibility for entry door locations to DADUs

Current regulations prohibit entrances to DADUs on the facades facing the nearest side or rear lot lines unless that lot line abuts a public right-of-way. New legislation would allow an entrance on any facade provided that the entrance is no closer than 10 feet to side or rear lot line, unless that lot line abuts a public right-of-way.

9. Allow certain roof features that add interior space

Current regulations allow these features for principal units in single-family zones but are not allowed for DADUs. New legislation would allow certain roof features that accommodate windows and add interior space, such as dormers, clerestories, and skylights

More on accessory dwelling units in tomorrow's blog! Stay tuned!

Happy Investing!

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

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