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Accessory Dwelling Units

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City Council Consideration

The City Council presently is considering the Planning Commission's recommendations for changes to the City's accessory dwelling unit (ADU) code.  The Council discussed changes to the recommendations at their meeting on February 24.  You can watch the Council Meeting on the City of Kenmore YouTube channel.  A future meeting will be scheduled for their continued deliberations.

Background

ADUs are secondary dwelling units located on single-family zoned lots. The two main types of ADUs are “attached” and “detached.” Attached ADUs are located inside or in an addition to a preexisting single-family residence. Detached ADUs (DADUs) are smaller, separate structures from the primary residence. Attached ADUs are more common, and often involve the conversion of a garage or basement into an independent living space.

ADUs provide a variety of benefits, including support for the elderly and intergenerational households. ADUs also are an effective means to support more affordable housing in the City. Presently, Kenmore allows both attached and detached ADUs. However, since 2012, only 14 ADUs have been permitted. The City Council directed the Planning Commission to review the City’s ADU standards, compare them with best practices in other jurisdictions, identify any roadblocks to ADU development, and make recommendations on amendments to the existing regulations.

Before developing the recommended code changes, Commissioners reached preliminary consensus on the following principles:

Code amendments to allow more ADU production:

• Are not necessary for achieving the city’s general housing targets.

• Should seek to increase the variety of housing types in Kenmore.

• Should support ADUs as an affordable housing choice for families and individuals who need affordable housing.

• Should benefit homeowners, such as those who need or provide care to other family members, those who need supplemental financial assistance, and seniors who want to age in place.

• Should support single-family neighborhood character.

• Should avoid creating loopholes for developers to create excessive density, permit unattractive structures, or displace vulnerable residents through redevelopment.

Using these principles, the Commission recommended preliminary changes to the ADU code.  Click to see the Planning Commission's recommendations.