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Seattle Approves New Microhousing Size & Location Restrictions

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As expected, the Seattle City Council approved new restrictions on microhousing and micro-apartment projects in the city on Monday. The new rules not only outline where they can be built but also what each individual unit must contain.

First of all, never call it microhousing again. They're small efficiency dwelling units," or SEDUs. Got it? Good.

Individual unit requirements include...

· Minimum size of 220 square feet (some have been built as small as 100 sq. ft.)
· Minimum 150 square-foot sleeping area
· Must include food preparation area with a sink, refrigerator, countertop and cooking appliance
· Must include a bathroom with a toilet, sink and shower or bathtub.

The council also separated out conditions for "congregate units," which will be permitted only in high-density neighborhoods. These units can be as small as 70 square feet so long as they are built with common kitchens shared by multiple units.

As for the buildings themselves, they must now undergo full design reviews, provide three bike-parking spots for every four units and are subject to the same car parking rules as any other apartment complex in Seattle.

The restrictions are seen as a compromise, though some developers worry that rents will now skyrocket based on the new requirements and cost additions. Roger Valdez, Director of Smart Growth Seattle, voiced concern that low-income renters will suffer the most due to the restrictions. We'll find out the effect soon enough as dozens of SEDUs are planned in the coming months.
· Seattle City Council approves restrictions on micro-apartments [ST]
· Seattle City Council unanimously approves new rules for controversial micro-housing [MyN]
· All Micro-Housing coverage [CS]