Council passes ADU legislation out of committee

This afternoon, the legislation loosening restrictions on “accessory dwelling units” or ADUs¬† passed out of committee and will be up for final approval by the full Council on July 1. For background, read my post from earlier this week on the amendments being considered. Most of the amendments under consideration passed. Among the few that didn’t: Amendment 4, offered by Council member Herbold, would have prohibited newly-permitted ADUs from being used for short-term rentals through AirBnB and other companies. O’Brien and Pacheco opposed it, while Harrell supported it from “detached” ADUs only. Amendment 5, also by Herbold, which would have …

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WA Supreme Court hears arguments on Seattle tenant laws

Last week the state Supreme Court heard arguments related to legal challenges against two tenant-rights laws passed in recent years: the “First in Time” ordinance that requires landlords to rent a property to the first qualified tenant who applies; and the “fair chance housing” ordinance that restricts landlords’ ability to use a potential tenant’s criminal record to deny tenancy. The two cases took different paths to get to the Supreme Court, but the legal issues raised have significant overlap. The legal theory underlying both legal challenges is essentially the same: that they restrict one of the landlords’ fundamental rights of …

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How much will it cost to fix Seattle’s unreinforced masonry buildings?

According to SDCI, the City of Seattle contains 1,145 buildings with unreinforced masonry that could collapse in a major seismic event. While records are incomplete, the city estimates that about 11% of those have already retrofitted the building to address the issue. Another 68 of them are owned by various government entities. That leaves 944 buildings in private hands with unreinforced masonry: in total about 20,200,000 square feet, containing 10,400 residential housing units with 22,050 residents. Thirty seven of those buildings contain 1,559 designated affordable housing units. Every few years the city attempts to move forward legislation to mandate that …

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