Councilmember Tom Rasmussen
City Council to host second meeting on micro-housing developments
SEATTLE - City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen today confirmed that a second public meeting on micro-housing developments will be held. The meeting will be on May 6 at 6:00 p.m. at Seattle First Baptist Church on First Hill.
The first meeting was held in April in response to questions and concerns raised by residents of several Seattle neighborhoods where micro-housing units are being constructed.
The purpose of the second meeting is to hear from neighborhood representatives who will give their views and recommendations on the micro-housing projects. Representatives of the developers who build micro-housing projects will be present to describe the projects and the market for this housing alternative and their response to concerns they are hearing from the community.
In addition to Councilmember Rasmussen co-sponsors of the meeting include Councilmembers Nick Licata, Sally J. Clark and Richard Conlin.
Councilmember Tom Rasmussen stated: "A portion of the meeting will include an opportunity for the public to provide comments on what they have heard during the meeting and to provide recommendations on what, if any, regulations should be enacted for this unique type of housing."
WHAT: Micro-housing development discussion
WHEN: Monday, May 6, 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
WHERE: Seattle First Baptist Church
WHO: Seattle City Councilmembers and Council staff
"I want to see more affordable housing built in Seattle along with our residential neighborhoods accommodating housing options that contribute to their character," stated Councilmember Nick Licata, chair of the Council's Housing, Human Services, Health and Culture Committee. "I think both objectives can be accomplished and I look forward to this forum providing an opportunity to hear suggestions on how to fulfill both."
"I've visited some of these micro-units," said Council President Sally J. Clark. "They provide decent, often attractive housing for a range of people who don't need or want a lot of space. They're also appearing in greater numbers and more rapidly than some in the surrounding neighborhood want. This forum can provide a good airing of people's support, concerns and ideas for appropriate regulation."
"Micro-housing can be an affordable option for people wanting to live close to work or urban amenities," said Councilmember Richard Conlin, chair of the Council's Planning, Land Use and Sustainability Committee. "They're good for the environment and they can be good for neighborhoods too if we can find ways to preserve their affordability while ensuring that these developments reflect both the letter and the spirit of our land use laws. I look forward to working with stakeholders and the Executive to craft legislation to accomplish these goals."
In recent years, micro-housing has emerged as an increasingly common residential building product in Seattle. Since 2006, DPD has received permit applications for 44 projects. Those completed projects have a total capacity of about 2,000 people. In 2012, DPD received applications for approximately 15 micro-housing projects.
Micro-housing projects are generally comprised of apartment or townhome-style dwelling units, each of which contains several (often seven or eight) smaller living quarters clustered around a shared kitchen and laundry area. Each of the smaller living spaces within the dwelling unit is leased to an individual tenant. These spaces are typically 150 to 200 square feet in size and equipped with a kitchenette (refrigerator, microwave, sink) and private bathroom. Rent levels vary by location but are often in the range of $600 to $700 per month.
Developers have found Seattle offers a strong market for micro-housing, with completed projects leasing up quickly. Tenants often include students, service industry workers, and individuals who divide their time between Seattle and a residence in another location. Geographically, 52 percent of the projects are located on Capitol Hill and 30 percent in the University District, with the remainder spread throughout the city.
Because micro-housing is not well-defined in City codes it also may not be adequately regulated. Some of the issues and concerns the public has raised about Seattle's growing stock of micro-housing include: