Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development has published recommendations regarding how micro-housing should be regulated. The changes include:
- Double required parking from 1 space per 8 micros (up to 8 micros per “unit”) to 1 parking space per 4 micros.
- New requirement for bike parking: 1 space per 4 micros.
- Potentially adding design review by setting design review levels based on square footage rather than number of units.
- Prohibits new construction and major renovation of single family homes that include micro dwelling units with bathrooms
This fourth point is particularly strange. Single family homes presumably will still be able to rent out up to 8 rooms, as currently allowed by code. Therefore it appears to only outlaw adding bathrooms to single family homes. The trouble of course is deciding what is a micro and what is just a bedroom with a bathroom. They do add a requirement that “micro dwelling units are to be indicated and noted on plans and permits”, which seems to leave it up to the developer whether you’re building a micro-unit or just a bedroom with a bathroom.
I understand DPD’s desire to keep control over this new building style, but the best way to make micro-housing affordable is to keep regulations light. Adding parking and design review will add cost to these projects, which will result in fewer units being built.