Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell

Archive for the 'Backyard Cottages' Category

Jul 24 2009

Backyard Cottages: A Place for your Mother-in-Law?

Detached Accessory Dwelling Units (DADUs), mother-in-law units, or, (as we are calling them in Seattle) backyard cottages, are being discussed in our city’s Planning, Land Use and Neighborhoods Committee. In 2006, the City Council passed legislation which permitted backyard cottages in Southeast Seattle. To date, 17 have been built in Southeast Seattle; many built over detached garages. I was not on the council when the 2006 legislation passed but I would not have supported legislation that only allows these dwellings in one section of town.

My staff and I toured examples of the backyard cottages in Southeast Seattle. We were actually impressed by their design, efficiency and practicality. While I have expressed some concerns about the design impacts of backyard cottages on neighborhoods, the homes I toured, in my opinion, were smartly built and sensitive to the needs of the neighborhood. For example, when the cottage is built next to the alley, in space that was underutilized, it cannot be seen from the street, and is within the size and scope of the existing structures in the alley.

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