City council member Nick Licata confirms that he's considering legislation that would place a minimum size limit on microhousing (better known as "aPodments")—multi-story buildings in which multiple small units surround a shared kitchen.
Meanwhile, council member Tom Rasmussen, who's hosting a brown-bag discussion of microhousing at city hall next Thursday at noon, tells PubliCola that a moratorium on the developments is still on the table, among other options.
"It isn't a higher [priority] than any of the other options," including doing nothing or asking the city's Department of Planning and Development to come up with legislation to address neighbors' concerns, including the fact that aPodments aren't required to have on-site parking, he says.
Previously, Rasmussen told PubliCola that he might be satisfied by legislation subjecting aPodments to design review (currently, each floor of a microhousing development is considered a single "unit," even if it houses several unrelated people, making the developments exempt from design review).
Licata compares limits on the size of tiny apartments to any other land use rule aimed at protecting tenants. Responding to the argument that there's clearly a demand for very small (and, by Seattle standards, inexpensive) apartments, Licata says, "That’s the sort of logic that has been used to justify a lot of conditions that are not humane or desirable"—the kind of conditions that prompted Seattle to adopt a rental-housing inspection law.
Licata says he doesn't know what size limit might be appropriate. "I'm just going to wait and see what we find out from the audience [at the brown-bag] from people living in those units, and what the demand is."
In San Francisco, Licata notes, the limit on micro-housing units (which don't have shared kitchens) is 250 square feet.