Updating Cottage Codes Could Offer Housing Shortage Solution in King and Snohomish Counties

Why build a backyard cottage?

"My backyard cottage is for my Mom, who at 80 years old needs to be close but is not ready for assisted living."

"Our original intent was a glorified garage with electrical and plumbing, as a short-term place for friends to stay,. The permitting process forced us to expand the project into a more traditional living space. Now that it is a full blown space (kitchen with range, washer / dryer, loft, etc.) we love the rental income (from a long-term tenant)."

"My neighbors really like the cottage and often stop by to say so, or ask how they might build one.. One reason it worked well for me is that I already have a very small house (650 sq ft) and adding the cottage doesn't overwhelm the space."

"I was looking for two houses on one lot when I bought this house. I needed the second income as a single woman.”

Building a backyard cottage investment could earn homeowners latent income of up to $24,000 per year!3

ABH Contractors provides residential and commercial clients with customized building packages to meet their budget and timeline needs.

Cottages and mother-in-law units are an attractive solution to the housing shortage as they provide rental income to homeowners, especially helpful for those on a fixed or single income. Kirkland city council is considering amending the duplex, triplex, and cottage regulations (KZC 113). The city’s memo regarding the change cited scarcity and cost of land as major factors to a lack of mixed-income housing options for residents. The proposed amendments increase maximum square footage allowed; reduce minimum development size; eliminate location requirements; reduce parking requirements; allow attached ADUs; and establish minimum density development requirements. The city’s memo indicates that an update to the ADU zoning code is also under review.1

Seattle city council is considering amending numerous DADU and ADU regulations. The change is occurring in the midst of equity and housing shortage concerns. The proposed amendments would remove the owner occupancy requirement; increase square footage allowance; increase the number of ADU’s allowed per lot; and remove minimum parking space requirements.2

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