YIMBYs rejoice — the city of Seattle is one step closer to saying yes to letting you build in your backyard.
Deputy Hearing Examiner Barbara Dykes Ehrlichman decided that the city’s investigation into the environmental impacts of attached (ADU) and detached accessory dwelling units (DADU) was sufficient, putting to rest an appeal brought by the Queen Anne Community Council in October of 2018.
The proposed rule change would make it easier for homeowners to build accessory dwelling units on their property, expanding the amount of housing that can fit into single family home neighborhoods.
The Queen Anne Community Council challenged the city’s environmental impact statement (EIS), claiming that it hadn’t thoroughly studied the new law’s impact on displacement and parking availability, among other things.
Ehrlichman didn’t completely dismiss the arguments against the ADU and DADU legislation, opining at one point that Marty Kaplan, an architect and longtime member of the community council, “may very well be right” that the new law could transform single-family home neighborhoods into “triplex” neighborhoods. However, such policy arguments “are not a basis for the Examiner to determine” the adequacy of the EIS.
The State Environmental Protection Act (SEPA) used to challenge the ADU and DADU legislation is a frequent tool for groups that object to development. Beyond backyard cottages, SEPA has been used to delay the proposed affordable housing complex at Fort Lawton and the missing link of the Burke-Gilman bike path in Ballard.
Ashley Archibald is a Staff Reporter covering local government, policy and equity. Have a story idea? She can be can reached at ashleya (at) realchangenews (dot) org. Follow Ashley on Twitter @AshleyA_RC
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