Thursday, November 12, 2009

News from Seattle

Two recent land use legal items from Seattle.  First, on Election Day the voters approved Proposition 1, an affordable-housing levy.  From the Seattle Times:

At Capitol Hill’s Sole Repair, campaign workers were ecstatic over the success of Proposition 1, the city of Seattle affordable-housing levy that looked to be headed to easy victory with 63 percent of the vote. . . .

The seven-year, $145 million measure passed despite the ongoing economic crunch, making it the fifth affordable-housing levy in a row to be passed by Seattle voters.

Also, the City Council has passed an ordinance allowing backyard cottages in single-family residential zones.  From the Post-Intelligencer:

Backyard cottages will be allowed in single-family zones throughout Seattle under an ordinance approved unanimously by the City Council Monday.

The council had considered allowing detached cottages citywide in 2006, but ended up just allowing them in Southeast Seattle. Mayor Greg Nickels has backed the proposal to allow the units elsewhere.

Opponents fear the move will effectively rezone the entire city and threaten neighborhoods of single-family homes, but supporters say it provides needed housing options in the city.

The cottages have height and area limits and must be no more that 800 square feet.  This type of housing option can really add to the diversity and affordability of an otherwise exclusive neighborhood.  We have plenty of so-called "granny flats" in the Unzoned City and it works out quite well--for example, a lot of Rice University students live in garage apartments in the surrounding affluent neighborhood. 

Matt Festa

Affordable Housing, Housing, Houston, Local Government, Zoning | Permalink

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