Backyard cottages legislation on hold

Council member Mike O’Brien’s effort to ease rules on building backyard cottages (aka DADU’s) has run into a snag: a community group is filing an appeal with the City Hearing Examiner.

O’Brien has been hoping that backyard cottages could contribute to increasing the availability of affordable housing in the city, but so far uptake has been anemic. Last month O’Brien unveiled his draft legislation that would attempt to address several barriers that make them less attractive, after several months of community forums, public input, and head-scratching.

But the Queen Anne Community Council doesn’t like the plan, and takes issue with the SEPA “Determination of Non-Significance” finding. They have appealed that finding to the City Hearing Examiner.

Dan Nolte, a spokesperson for the City Council, explained in an email:

At the announcement last month, Councilmember O’Brien said the legislation would likely be considered by Council in July, but due to a recent appeal by leaders of the Queen Anne Community Council, the legislation is now on hold while the City’s Hearing Examiner reviews their appeal (which can take 3-6 months).  When land use legislation is proposed, anyone can appeal on the grounds that they believe the legislation has a significant adverse environmental impact, which is what happened here.

You can read the Queen Anne Community Council’s complaint letter here.