The city council's planning committee decided to put off a decision about proposed new regulations on microhousing, tiny apartments with shared kitchens that are reviled by some single-family landowners in neighborhoods like Eastlake and the University District. Instead of voting on the proposed new restrictions, the council will create a committee of about ten stakeholders on both sides of the issue to hash out new regulations.
Opponents have argued that the small apartments, which typically have little or no parking, will lead to parking hassles, bring undesirable residents to their neighborhoods, and will create trash pileups and public-safety problems.
Proponents say the new restrictions will only make it more difficult—and more expensive—to build microhousing, which they consider an affordable alternative to traditional housing in a city that's getting harder and harder for low-income folks to live in.
The potential new regulations include new design review requirements that would, proponents argue, make it easier for neighboring residents to sue to stop the developments; new minimum size requirements for bedrooms and shared kitchens; a new rule dictating that sinks be located inside the bathroom rather than elsewhere in an apartment; and minimum parking requirements.
Committee chair Mike O'Brien said this afternoon that he hopes to have the stakeholder group confirmed by the end of the week; the plan is for the group to meet about three times between now and August and make recommendations on how to regulate a form of housing O'Brien said "was largely invented here in Seattle."
We have a call out to O'Brien for more details.