Convert all Single-Family Neighborhoods to Triplex Zoning: Summary of Mike O'Brien's Proposed Code Changes (from Queen Anne Community Council website)

posted Nov 13, 2018, 9:51 PM by CBF   [ updated Nov 13, 2018, 9:56 PM ]
Summary of Present Rules versus Council Member O'Brien's Proposal

Present rules for backyard cottages (DADUs) and “in-law” apartments (ADUs) in single-family zones

O’Brien Proposal to convert all single-family neighborhoods to triplex zoning

Min. lot size for DADU: 4,000 SF

3,200 SF

Number of dwelling units per lot: 2 (main dwelling plus either DADU or ADU)


Number of separate dwelling structures per lot:

2, including main home and DADU

3 (units could be in one, two or three separate structures)[1]

Triplexes allowed? No.


Parking required for DADUs and ADUs?



Maximum number of unrelated persons per lot: 8


Maximum size: 1,000 SF for ADUs, 800 SF for DADUs. Garage space included in this calculation.

1,000 SF for both ADUs and DADUs, PLUS garage space. Setback requirements are also relaxed.

Height limit for DADU: varies from 18-27 feet according to lot width

Would essentially add two feet to all current limits.

Owner occupancy of one unit is required

No owner-occupancy requirement. Absentee landlord could own all units.

Maximum lot coverage by DADUs: 40 percent of rear lot

60 percent of rear lot

Requirements that units be “affordable” to persons of a certain income level? No.



[1] The O’Brien proposal would reduce the maximum square footage of homes to half the size of their lot (e.g., you could build a 2,000 SF home on a 4,000 SF lot). However, it would allow two additional houses of 1,000 SF apiece in the backyard of that home.

Stated reasons for Queen Anne Community Council’s appeal (See website for appeal at Note: The following is a summary of a more detailed list in Queen Anne’s notice of appeal.

1.      The City didn’t provide for adequate citizen involvement in the process.
2.   The EIS doesn’t adequately analyze the proposal’s impacts on issues such as the overall reduction in affordable housing, change in neighborhood character, loss of more modest and affordable homes, increased housing costs for existing residents, and quality of life.
3.   The EIS doesn’t adequately analyze the cumulative impact of the proposal in conjunction with HALA upzones in other areas.
4.   The EIS doesn’t adequately consider other alternatives that could accomplish its goals with less impact.
5.   The EIS doesn’t adequately examine parking impacts. The study on which it relied involved four outlying neighborhoods that don’t represent conditions in more crowded areas.
6.   The EIS doesn’t adequately consider the impacts of allowing 12 unrelated persons to live on one lot, especially with respect to parking and traffic-circulation.
7.   The EIS provides no comprehensive studies to support its conclusion that removing the owner-occupancy requirement would have no impacts.
8.   The EIS doesn’t adequately analyze the proposal’s effect on public utilities.
9.   The EIS doesn’t consider a range of alternatives that would vary zoning requirement to fit the unique conditions of different neighborhoods in the City.
10.  The EIS doesn’t adequately address the proposal’s effect on the City’s tree canopy.

The Queen Anne Community Council’s appeal website also asks for donations to help fund the appeal, including a donations link.

Prepared by Ted Inkley 11/13/18

Nov 13, 2018, 9:55 PM