This afternoon, the City Council voted out of committee a controversial bill making several changes to the SEPA appeal process, after making a handful of mostly minor amendments.
Over the summer, Council member Sawant has been working on a bill that would expand the city’s ability to establish additional “tiny house” villages and issue permits for more sanctioned homeless encampments. However, her bill has already been tied up in land-use bureaucracy.
Last Friday, King County Superior Court Judge Patrick Oishi issued a “bench ruling” that invalidated the City Council’s ordinance extending the Pike Place Market Historical District to include the Showbox site, in order to prevent it from being sold to Onni Development and redeveloped into a residential tower. This afternoon the judge issued the written version of his ruling.
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 added a one-year ownership requirement before a second ADU could be permitted unless it was developed as a rent-restricted unit. Same split: O’Brien and Pacheco against, Herbold and Harell for.
- Amendment 6, offered by Pacheco, which would have added an additional 25 square foot allowance in an ADU’s floor area for indoor bicycle parking. Pacheco withdrew it from consideration.
All three of these amendments might come up for reconsideration when the bill is in front of the full Council on July 1.
Pacheco introduced one other last-minute amendment, which grants a 250 square foot exemption for houses for an attached garage. He said that he felt it was important to incent developers to build attached garages of detached ones. That amendment was also adopted.
The final, amended bill should pass easily with the full Council. Once the Mayor signs it into law, however, it may see another legal challenge from neighborhood groups who wish to challenge the adequacy of the Environmental Impact Statement; the Hearing Examiner upheld the EIS’s adequacy, but by law any further appeals must come after legislative action.
Tomorrow afternoon, the Sustainability and Transportation Committee will take up the pending legislation aimed at loosening restrictions on ADUs. There are eleven potential amendments to the bill queued up for discussion and possible adoption.
This afternoon, the Office of the Hearing Examiner released its ruling on an appeal of the adequacy of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the City Council’s proposed legislation relaxing rules on the construction of ADUs (aka “mother in law apartments” and “backyard cottages”) in single-family residential zones in Seattle.
This afternoon, after years of work, the City Council gave final approval to the “city-wide” MHA legislation, which upzoned and applied affordable-housing requirements in the city’s urban villages .
The Downtown Seattle Association, a local advocacy group boasting 2,000 corporate, nonprofit and residential members, has published a report on downtown construction in 2018, and what we can expect for the next 2+ years.