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A micro-housing building in Seattle.
Reviewing a new housing option.

Proposed Changes

We’ve monitored micro-housing and congregate residences* in Seattle for over two years. We've evaluated our rules and are now proposing changes that will ensure we have clear and consistent regulations in place. These new regulations make sure micro-housing and congregate residences receive the right level of permit review – especially Design Review. We believe these proposed regulations will improve how this type of housing fits into neighborhoods and make the housing more livable for renters, while continuing to support innovation in housing design to create affordable choices. Mayor Murray delivered the legislation to the City Council in March of 2014. The City Council will review the code changes this spring and consider whether to adopt them into law.

We're using the following guiding principles to shape our recommendations:

  • Preserve affordability — continue to support micro-housing and congregate residences as a housing option in Seattle
  • Ensure basic health and safety of all housing
  • Provide consistent treatment and classification of micro-housing and congregate residences across all City departments and programs
  • Improve tracking and awareness of micro-housing development
  • Regulate micro-housing and congregate residences in a way that correlates to that of other types of new development

Some highlights of the proposed new rules include:

  • Establishing a definition of micro-housing
  • Requiring Design Review for micro-housing and congregate residences based on square footage rather than number of dwelling units
  • Setting a minimum size for common areas in micro-housing and congregate residences
  • Increasing bicycle and car parking requirements for micro-housing
  • Clarifying affordable housing program requirements for micro-housing and congregate residences

* Congregate residences are group housing arrangements with more than 9 sleeping rooms such as dormitories and some types of senior housing. They have some similarities to micro-housing and are addressed in the new rules.

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