Seattle mayor fast tracks backyard cottages to address Seattle’s affordable housing crisis

by DCG

backyard cottages

Seattle’s Fair Chance Housing: Build a small city for criminals in your backyard!

Keep in mind that Seattle’s “Fair Chance Housing” Ordinance went into effect on 2/19/18, meaning a landlord cannot unfairly deny applicants housing based on criminal history. It also prohibits the use of advertising language that automatically or categorically excludes people with arrest records, conviction records, or criminal history(I wrote about this on 8/10/17.)

With that in mind, who wouldn’t want to invest $300,000+ of their own hard-earned money to house a convicted criminal in their backyard?

From MyNorthwest.com: After years of studies and discussion, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan is streamlining the process to build backyard cottages. The mayor’s office hopes it will incentivize homeowners to build the units while creating more affordable housing in the city.

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“Seattle faces an affordability and housing crisis, and we are taking urgent action to increase the supply of rental housing options as quickly as possible,” Durkan said. “Too many people are being pushed out of this city or can’t find a place to live. We need to use every tool in our toolbox to boost the supply of housing.

A backyard cottage is essentially what it sounds like — a living space akin to a mother-in-law unit built in a backyard. They have been promoted as one method to address Seattle’s severe lack of affordable housing.

But progress toward building the backyard cottages has been stalled at Seattle City Hall for years. Durkan aims to end that bottleneck. She has ordered the Department of Construction and Design to “fast track” pre-approved designs for detached accessory dwelling units (ADAU) aka backyard cottages.

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“Fast-tracked designs for backyard cottages will allow us to get more housing online faster,” Durkan said. “We will continue to work on all fronts – from adding more shelter beds to innovative permanent housing options – to build a more affordable future for Seattle.”

Seattle will pay architects to develop a handful of standard cottage designs that homeowners can choose from. These designs will be permitted more quickly and cheaper. Durkan’s office says this will cut down permitting time by half. The office doesn’t say exactly how much cheaper the process will be, but does note that current costs can range between $10,000 and $30,000 just to design the structure. And up to $300,000 to build it.

Read the whole story here.

DCG

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