ADU Fair: Resources for creating accessory dwelling units

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Southside Commons

3518 South Edmunds Street

Seattle, WA 98118

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Welcome to this community outreach event organized by accessory housing advocates on Seattle’s recent updates to rules for accessory dwelling units (ADUs) legislation. These changes offer more opportunities for new rental homes, affordable housing, anti-displacement housing solutions, and neighborhood resiliency. Local businesses and organizations will be on hand to provide information on services—from architecture to construction and financing—to community members (primarily residential property owners and rental housing providers) who may be considering the addition of a detached accessory dwelling unit on their property.

Join one or all of our breakout-style sessions throughout the event, where we’ll scratch the surface of each step in the ADU development process. Our panels of practiced experts will share the common considerations, pitfalls and opportunities. Due to the tight schedule and complexity of topics, these sessions are not intended to provide guidance on your specific property or ADU plan. However, bring questions that you think will help the group better understand the implications of building and maintaining a backyard cottage or ADU! We’ll take notes at each session to capture questions and observations.

Sessions are scheduled for 15 minutes, with an option to extend another 5 minutes as needed.

2:30: Codes + Permitting

Seattle’s new ADU rules expand the number of eligible lots, increase flexibility, ease requirements and allow up to two ADUs per property. We’ll provide a top-level review of the new development rules and associated existing codes. Permitting steps and typical timeline, as well as permit and impact fees, will also be presented. We’ll also discuss plans in the works to make it easier and quicker to permit a backyard cottage.

3:00: Design

An ADU is a compact home, with all the requisite design details. It’s also a lesson in neighborliness and environmental stewardship, since you’ll be building within your neighborhood’s existing physical and social fabric. Hear about the typical design process, from feasibility through construction documents, as well as emerging options for prefab and modular design. And learn about special design considerations, including healthy and efficient building, aging-in-place, and adaptable design.

3:30: Construction

Site preparation and construction is often noisy and disruptive, and the proximity of an ADU to the main home and neighbors means careful consideration of construction methods and scheduling. We’ll explore both the conventional site-built approach, and how techniques for minimizing site disturbance and off-site construction techniques can help reduce disruption and shorten the construction timeline.

4:00: Financing + Ownership Options

Building an ADU is a financial stretch for many, and sometimes just plain-old out of reach via typical financing. This session will explore the existing and emerging options, including conventional home improvement loans, lines of credit and construction loans. Newer options, including up-front financing by development firms, will also be explored. We’ll also touch on tenancy in common and condo conversions, which can broaden ownership opportunities.

4:30: Landlord-Tenant Considerations

Okay, your ADU is ready to occupy… now what? This session will give a taste of Seattle’s landlord-tenant requirements and the Housing Code. We’ll also explore the differences between short-term rental options and conventional rentals, and emerging build-finance-management models.

Community Envisioning Station (throughout event)

Join us at our Community Envisioning Station to share how you anticipate adding housing to your property! What are your hopes and concerns when it comes to having a backyard cottage? What features will it have? Will it help you afford to stay in your neighborhood, or represent a housing option for someone otherwise priced out of Seattle? Share your stories and images with us! We’ll have supplies on hand for all ages to express their visions in words and images.

Confirmed table participants to date include:

Seattle Office of Planning and Community Development, Department of Construction and Inspections, Office of Housing, Human Services (Aging and Disabilities Services), MuchADU, CoBuy, Infiniti Real Estate & Development, Windermere- Ader/Berger, Umpqua Bank, Fix Cottage, NODE, My Kabin, Cast Architecture, Live Work Play, Nest Architecture & Design, Microhouse, Karen DeLucas Architecture, Rob Harrison, Nest Design Build, Mighty House Construction, Ten Penny Studio Design + Construction.

Would you or your organization like to participate in the next ADU fair? Please contact kellys@tenpennystudio.com.

(Photos from: Live-Work-Play, Nest Architecture & Design, and Cast Architecture)


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Southside Commons

3518 South Edmunds Street

Seattle, WA 98118

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