Durkan signs ADU ordinance, executive order to speed up ADU construction

Yesterday Mayor Jenny Durkan signed into law the ordinance loosening rules for ADUs and restricting the building of “McMansions.”  She also signed an executive order directing several actions intended to expedite the design, permitting and construction of ADUs and to make them more affordable to build.

Among the actions in Durkan’s executive order:

  • It directs the Department of Construction and Inspections to make pre-approved ADU plans available at low or no cost to homeowners. DADU construction permits submitted for one of these plans will be approved within 30 days.  SDCI will issue a “call for submissions from the design and construction community” to source the pre-approved designs.
  • SDCI will hire an “ADU Navigator” on its permitting staff, to help homeowners get through the permitting process.
  • SDCI will develop “a one-stop ADU website” with information, guidance, and comprehensive information on the permitting process.
  • SDCI will establish an “ADU working group” both to provide educational opportunities to homeowners looking to build an ADU, and to provide advice to the city.
  • The Office of Housing will expand the existing Home Repair Program to develop a low-interest financing program for low-income homeowners who want to build an ADU on their property. Under the state Constitution, city governments can only give or loan money to “the poor.” The city will also “explore options” for other ADU construction financing programs.
  • The city will create a baseline assessment of ADUs in the city by December 1st, including the number, location, current use, rental rate, parking usage, and assessment of green space and tree canopy. It will form the basis for annual reports on ADUs, with the first one published in December 2020.



    1. It’s certainly likely. Same deal as for Ft. Lawton: after the hearing examiner was done, further appeals to the EIS needed to wait for the city to take legislative action. Which it has now done.

      But in this day and age, pretty much all land use actions and EIS’s will draw lawsuits. So this is just sort of business as usual now.

  1. City would be better off coming up with 1 page for all ADU rules and requirements. Simplify and be helpful. No need to hire new staff, create websites full of data which is not useful information. Do the opposite of what Jenny did with her letter above.

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