Seattle Extends Small Lot Development Moratorium

Seattle Extends Small Lot Development Moratorium

Neighbors have banded together from 16 different Seattle neighborhoods and formed the group, “One Home Per Lot.” This group opposes the large homes that are being built on subdivided lots around the city. They complain that the large scale homes affect their access to sunlight, privacy and neighborhood scale. One such home, a three-story modern house, is being constructed in Seattle’s Roosevelt neighborhood on just 1,760 square feet, much smaller than the underlying 5,000 square foot zoning.

Developers claim that houses come in all shapes and sizes and that these types of homes add variety and interest to the streetscape. This particular developer in Roosevelt got the permitting for this home before the City Council voted to put forward a moratorium on small lot development like this. Just a few days ago, the City Council agreed to extend this moratorium for another six months.

City Councilmember Richard Conlin, who urged colleagues to adopt the moratorium a year ago, has argued for regulations that provide some predictability for neighbors about what can get built while still encouraging infill development in the city. Conlin also supports a rule that would allow developers to build on a lot that was equal to the average lot size on a block, a recognition that some established neighborhoods have smaller lot sizes than the underlying zoning.

Developers have pressed the city to allow lots that are 80 percent of the average lot size on a block. They’re also asking for a height limit of 22 feet with a 5-foot pitched roof, for a total of 27 feet at the peak of the roof. They argue that this fits in with existing architecture, much of which extends this tall.  The general argument is that many people want to live in single-family houses, and there are builders who are building homes to meet that demand in our city rather than in outlying communities. Others claim that three stories is much too tall, and if they were two stories, neighbors would be much more open to them.

What do you think about these so-called monster houses on small lots. Good for infilling Seattle’s neighborhoods or out of scale intrusions?

*Excerpted from Seattle Times

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Phone: 206-940-2834
Dated: September 18th 2013
Views: 5,700
About Troy: ~Married with 2 children ~Turned grey prematurely ~Fetish for all things Apple ~Urban chicken far...

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