There are no mother-in-laws or backyard cottages in the Upper Queen Anne Urban Village.
There are no mother-in-laws or backyard cottages in the Upper Queen Anne Urban Village.

The Queen Anne Community Council has filed an appeal with the Seattle Hearing Examiner, challenging the City of Seattle’s final environmental impact statement for a package of code changes that would make it less prohibitive to build accessory dwelling units.

Architect Marty Kaplan filed the appeal on behalf of the Queen Anne Community Council, challenging the legal adequacy of the FEIS, which was published on Oct. 4.

“The proposed legislation contains provisions that will eliminate single-family zoning in Queen Anne and within every neighborhood throughout the City,” Kaplan writes in the appeal. “It ignores, disrespects, and eliminates the city-wide Neighborhood Plans. this unprecedented and wholesale land use change will negatively impact over 135,000 single family properties and over 350,000 residents that choose to live in single-family homes in Seattle’s neighborhoods.”

The Seattle City Council approved a resolution in 2014 directing the planning department to explore policy changes that would increase development of attached and detached accessory dwelling units (AADUs and DADUs), and the Office of Planning and Community Development issued a determination of non-significance in June 2016, which was appealed by the Queen Anne Community Council.

The Seattle Hearing Examiner decided in December of that year that the city needed to do a full environmental impact statement (EIS) based on concerns surrounding land use, housing and socioeconomics, parking and transportation, aesthetics, and public services and utilities.

All alternatives considered in the final environmental impact statement — other than taking no action — would increase the production of ADUs citywide.

The FEIS states 1,970 ADUs would be created between 2018 and 2027 if no regulation changes were made, compared to 4,280 under Alternative 2, 3,400 under the third alternative and 4,430 with a preferred alternative. These alternatives would also reduce the number of teardowns of existing houses, according to the FEIS.

Under the preferred alternative, lots in single-family zones can have an AADU and DADU (in lots with a minimum of 3,200 square feet), or two AADUs, and would not require off-street parking or that the owner live in any of the dwelling units. One year of continuous ownership would be required to build a second accessory dwelling unit.

The appeal argues that the FEIS fails to consider alternatives to current backyard cottage policies, “and in doing so fails to disclose, discuss and analyze significant, adverse environmental impacts that the proposal will impose on all Queen Anne residents and within every other Seattle neighborhood…”

The Magnolia Community Council voted at its Sept. 18 meeting to support QACC’s appeal plans, and plans to discuss the ADU FEIS during its land use committee meeting 2:15-3:45 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, at the Magnolia Library, 2801 34th Ave. W.

The preferred alternative “could result in minor impacts from increases in building density and population density,” according to the FEIS, but also includes a floor-area ratio that would reduce aesthetic impacts.

“On some specific blocks in the study area where on-street parking utilization does, or will in the future, exceed parking supply,” the FEIS states, “localized impacts on the availability of on-street parking could occur.”

While the preferred alternative could result in 3,690 new ADU residents, the FEIS states, the city does not anticipate service impacts for its various departments, such as police, fire and utilities.

Seattle ADU FEIS by branax2000 on Scribd

Notice of Appeal ADU by branax2000 on Scribd