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Council News Release

10/6/2008  3:05:00 PM
David Yeaworth, Clark Office, 206-684-8802
Rob Gala, Conlin Office, 206-684-8805

Councilmember Sally J. Clark
Council President Richard Conlin

New law will reign in out-of-scale, out-of-character new house construction

SEATTLE — The Council today passed legislation that addresses Seattleites’ concerns about MegaHouses— out-of-scale, out-of-character houses seemingly plunked into neighborhoods, overshadowing houses around them. Councilmember Sally J. Clark, chair of the Planning, Land Use and Neighborhoods Committee, said, “This is one of the issues I hear most about from neighborhoods all over Seattle. I’m pleased we have passed this new legislation to reign in the rush of oversized houses in our neighborhoods.” Council President Richard Conlin said, “We have got to be thoughtful about how our city grows. This legislation protects the character of Seattle’s neighborhoods by ensuring that new homes are in scale with existing ones.”

The new legislation will help by 1) adjusting the formula for how much of a lot may be covered by the structure; 2) better protecting neighboring homeowners from being overshadowed by removing the provision that currently allows a house’s height to be based on neighboring property if it is taller than 30 feet; 3) Limiting the location and visibility of garage doors that face a street; 4) reducing how much height for houses are allowed on lots on sloped sites; and 5) waiving parking requirements on lots of less than 3,000 square feet, thereby reducing the prominence of a garage as part of a structure.

Council President Conlin said, “This new law will help ensure that new homes contribute positively to neighborhood character, yet allow flexibility in accommodating future growth and increase housing choices for Seattle residents.”

Councilmember Clark said, “People tell me that big-box houses block neighbor’s sunlight or limit the number of trees and yard space in their neighborhood. This legislation is a great start toward solving the problems associated with MegaHouses.”


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