Backyard Cottages – New housing option proposed for Seattle

New legislation is being proposed that would allow Seattle homeowners the option to build backyard cottages. Under the proposal, homeowners would be allowed to build backyard cottages under certain conditions. The owner must live on the premises and there would be an annual limit of 50 new cottages.

To ensure the cottages fit within the neighborhood, the lot must be at least 4,000 square feet in area, with minimum width and depth requirements. The principal house and backyard cottage combined must not exceed the current 35% lot coverage limit for single family zones. The cottages can be no more than 800 square feet in area, with a height limit of 15 – 23 foot height depending on lot width, and parking is required.

You can learn more here. And, there is a Seattle PI article on the topic here.

4 comments to Backyard Cottages – New housing option proposed for Seattle

  • Anonymous

    Do we want a neighborhood or a shanty town?

  • Renee

    My husband and I would like to build a backyard cottage if this passes. Our thought on this is that we would like to build an attractive cottage that would enhance our property and those nearby. And, we would have a place for family and friends and eventually our children to live. We have thought about making our own house larger, but this seems like a better answer to us.

    I like the examples that are shown on the city website. And, I think it is interesting that the city interviewed people who own single family homes near backyard cottages in SE Seattle and response was near unanimously positive toward the cottages and the impact that they have on the neighborhood.

    I look forward to the dialogue that will take place on throughout the city in regard to this issue.

  • Renee

    The survety results are here:

    I think I overstated by saying, “near unanimously positive”. But, the survey shows a general support for backyard cottages.

  • Dave

    I like the idea as well. It has the least impact on the existing character of a neighborhood while meeting growth demands. It also presents a much more economical option for assisting aging relatives.

    The use of small detached spaces for a home business, as I currently understand it, is still not allowed within the city in single family neighborhoods. I think the city should be cultivating the development of cottage industries as a component of this and loosen up the restrictions on the use of detached units for business.


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