Superior Court Decision on Micro-Housing

– Design Changes Required Under Current Rules

In a project-specific Superior Court decision issued August 13, 2014, a judge ruled that individual bedrooms having private bathrooms and food preparation areas within them were configured for use as separate dwelling units, and must be regulated accordingly. In light of the court’s reasoning, the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) has re-examined other similar projects currently under review. DPD has concluded that the individual rooms within any proposed development having an identical or substantially similar arrangement also must be regulated as separate dwelling units. Environmental (SEPA) and Design Review thresholds will be calculated based on the number of rooms so configured.

Development standards based on the number of dwelling units, such as requirements for bicycle parking and trash storage areas, and any applicable density requirements, must be met for projects proposing similarly configured rooms.

Projects currently under review may choose to modify their proposals to eliminate the features that facilitate the use of the rooms as separate dwelling units, such as private bathrooms or food preparation areas. New proposals subject to existing land use code rules will be required to count all rooms having these features as separate dwelling units.

For questions, please contact:

Carlee Casey
Zoning Review Manager
(206) 386-9732
carlee.casey@seattle.gov