ADU restrictions easing up again!

Getting more ADUs built!

That’s been the main goal of proponents of ADUs. Small changes such as easing restrictions, have been slowly happening over the years.  In Seattle, 2019 was a big year for easing restrictions. Removing parking requirements and not requiring homeowners to live on site made it possible for more to be built but still not enough for the housing that is needed statewide.  But now more changes are coming that will help. Starting with Washington State house bill HB1337. What is that?

Here is an article by Sightline Institute that explains how this bill will affect how homeowners all over the state, not just in King County, build ADUs. This will make my job easier because right now each jurisdiction has their own rules that must be researched and determined how they will affect each individual project. With this house bill the rules will be standardized throughout Washington which will make permitting easier, the designers/architects jobs easier and the contractors job easier.  And the process will be much more straightforward for the homeowner.

Big homes and small homes

Basically, this bill says jurisdictions cannot put more restrictions on ADUs than they have for single family dwellings. It standardizes land use rules and takes away the items that were inserted to slow down or make it impossible to build ADUs. There are some people out there that have fear about what ADUs in their neighborhood might do.  But really adding ADUs to neighborhoods just means you get a mix of big homes and smaller homes.  That mix has always been there.  I would like to invite people to put their address into this map and see how many ADUs are already in their neighborhood. It will show all ADUs that already exist within a quarter mile of their home.  I would bet they weren’t even aware they were there! By the way this is a great tool if you want to create a hyper local ADU tour for yourself to get ideas for your upcoming ADU.

Not just for big cities

Many smaller towns may have felt the housing crisis only affects big cities. What they don’t understand is people who cannot afford living in a big city move to the next town down the road until they can find somewhere they can afford.  Smaller types of housing is needed for every town no matter how big or small. We need people to live where they work or at least a short commute or train ride away.

Mostly for family members

To be honest most people who hire me to design their ADU are doing it for family members. They want them to live close but the high cost of housing does not allow for that. But building an ADU allows this dream to become a reality. A family member already owns the land so a detached ADU is possible. When you build an attached ADU the land and the structure are already there and it’s just a matter of updating the space to turn it into a stand alone dwelling unit.

Maybe a full ADU is not needed

Read here to find out how you can create a space for family members but maybe not to the level needed to make it a rental unit. If you are just building a small space for mom or dad to live but they would be joining you for dinner most nights you may be able to make the construction even more affordable.  Let’s find out how all of this may affect your project!

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