Councilmember O’Brien to Develop Regulations to Encourage More Backyard Cottages

Media Advisory

Councilmember O’Brien to Develop Regulations to Encourage More Backyard Cottages, Meeting Tomorrow

SeattleCouncilmember Mike O’Brien will host a special lunchtime meeting tomorrow, as he explores ways to make it easier for more homeowners to build backyard cottages and mother-in-law units. Councilmembers will review a report, “Removing Barriers to Backyard Cottages,” and hear testimony from homeowners who have faced challenges when constructing the new units.

The meeting is a first step toward developing new policies to encourage more backyard cottages, which could produce thousands of new housing units.  In January, two public meetings will be held to solicit feedback on potential legislative changes.

Backyard cottages, also called detached accessory dwelling units, are separate living spaces on the same property as an existing single-family house. Council adopted legislation in 2009 allowing construction of backyard cottages on eligible lots in single-family zones throughout the City.  Fewer than 200 have been constructed to date.


Backyard Cottage Discussion at the Council’s Planning, Land Use & Sustainability Committee


Wednesday, December 9

12 p.m.


Seattle City Hall

Council Chambers, Second Floor

600 4th Ave., Seattle 98104


Backyard Cottage owners

Nick Welch, Seattle Department of Planning and Development

Councilmember Mike O’Brien

Council President Tim Burgess

Councilmember Nick Licata

Sorry this notice did not give a lot of time to make plans to attend.  If you are interested in this subject one of the best way for you to follow along tomorrow is by phone, the one-way Listen Line: 206.684-8566 or watch live.

Seattle City Council meetings are cablecast live on Seattle Channel 21, HD Channels 321 Comcast, 721 Wave and on the City Council’s website. Copies of legislation, Council meeting calendar, and archives of news releases can be found on the City Council website.

2 Comments on “Councilmember O’Brien to Develop Regulations to Encourage More Backyard Cottages”

  1. There appears to be a great effort in trying to increase the number of units that MIGHT be affordable for those making 20,000 – 30,000, which I fully support.
    Consideration must be given to what impact this has on infrastructure such as sewer and storm runoff. Broadview is experiencing great problems in both of these area with sewage into basements and storm runoff into homes as well. Adding backyard units will further tax these already taxed facilities. Infrastructure must be expanded and improved to meet the demands of the additional units before increasing the number of backyard units. Not improving infrastructure first may make the city legally responsible for damage to existing homes and neighborhoods resulting from the increase in backyard units.

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