Advocacy Update – June 2019
This month in state and local advocacy: ADUs all the time! Also: Fort Lawton and Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda's appearance at our first ever City Leaders Breakfast.
State Legislative Session
We are reposting AIA Washington Council’s final report on this year’s legislative session, which can be found here. AIA|WA encourages members to attend their state legislators’ in-district open-houses over the summer and fall. These are a great opportunity to meet your legislators in a relaxed setting and discuss any issues you are interested in.
Seattle Housing Activity
Fort Lawton: On June 10, the Seattle City Council voted to approve the city’s plan to turn the former military site at Fort Lawton into 237 affordable homes for low-income seniors and formerly homeless individuals alongside supportive services, workforce housing and affordable homeownership opportunities. AIA Seattle supported this effort. The city must now submit its plan to the Department of Defense for final approval, which is expected to happen by the end of this year. After that, the city can take ownership of the land. Permitting and construction by non-profit housing partners is expected to begin in 2021, with renters and buyers getting their homes by 2026.
ADUs: ADU legislation continues to move through the City Council and was heard by the Sustainability and Transportation Committee this month. At a June 11 public hearing before the committee, AIA Seattle members and other testified in support of the legislation. Views expressed at the hearing ran roughly 4 to 1 in support. On June 18, the council’s Sustainability and Transportation Committee voted unanimously to move the proposal forward to review by the full council – the first hearing before the full council will be July 1. A controversial amendment by Counilmember Lisa Herbold (West Seattle) to prohibit short-term rentals in ADUs was tabled until the full council considers the legislation.
The proposal would:
- Increase the per lot allowance from one ADU to two, with the option of one attached ADU as part of the main house and one detached ADU as a separate structure, or two AADUs.
- Eliminate the requirement to provide off-street parking spaces.
- Increase the maximum DADU size from 800 to 1,000 square feet.
- Reduce the minimum lot size for DADUs from 4,000 to 3,200 square feet.
- Raise allowed DADU height one to three feet depending on lot width or green building features.
- Increase the rear yard lot coverage limit from 40 to 60 percent for DADUs no taller than 15 feet.
- Cap the size of any newly constructed house—whether it has an ADU or not—to whichever is greater: 2,500 square feet or a floor-area-ratio (FAR) of 0.5 (half the square footage of the lot).
- Allow ADU entries on any façade as long as it’s 10 feet from property lines.
- Raise the limit on unrelated occupants on a lot from eight to twelve.
Summary from Sightline
AIA welcomes member feedback on this proposal as Councilmembers move to the amendment phase of reviewing the legislation. We are particularly interested in member feedback on the 0.5 FAR limit. Please email Kirsten with any comments that you’d like us to consider.
AIA encourages members to contact their councilmembers on the ADU proposal; you can do so via email at any time. There will also be an additional public comment period before the full council sometime in July.
AIA Seattle held our first citywide ADU Tour on June 15. Thanks to all of you who participated, and particularly to our presenting architects. We plan to make this an annual event. Those interested in including an ADU on next summer’s tour (date tbd) may contact Kirsten at any time.
Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda speaks to AIA on Housing
Seattle City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda spoke as part of AIA Seattle’s City Leaders Breakfast Series on June 12. She spoke about her housing priorities on the Council, including ADUs, allowing more duplexes and triplexes and more upzoning. She also talked about her efforts to engage the community on housing and her work with the business community on homelessness funding issues.
AIA Seattle Task Force Meetings
AIA Seattle members are invited to attend these policy-focused meetings, which occur monthly:
- Transportation Task Force Monthly Meeting: July 9, 5:30-6:30 pm @CFAD
- Housing Task Force Monthly Meeting: July 11, noon-1:15 pm @ CFAD
For more information on these or any other topics, or to join a task force, please contact: