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City Council looking at cottage housing

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Published on Wed, Apr 8, 2009
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City Council looking at cottage housing

JOURNAL STAFF The Lake Stevens City Council is considering cottage housing as an option for developers and residents living within Lake Stevens.

Cottage housing fills a niche for small households, provides an option for infill on urban lots and allows higher densities in exchange for site and design requirements. 

Cottage housing is one type of innovative development in use in local jurisdictions including Mukilteo, Redmond, Kirkland, Shoreline and Arlington. 

It is consistent with the Growth Management Act, the Countywide Planning Policies, and the City’s Comprehensive Plan. 

Based on sales, cottage housing has a strong market but does not replace large-lot single family homes, however, it provides an alternative housing choice for a different segment of the population including starter families and seniors.  

As proposed by city staff, Cottage Housing Developments would be allowed in all single family zones (Suburban Residential, Waterfront Residential, Urban Residential, and High Urban Residential) and in the Mixed Use and Planned Business District as one part of the overall development. 

No minimum lot area is required for a cottage housing development, but specific standards including common open area are required.  An existing single-family dwelling can be incorporated into a development. 

How the code is administered can make or break a specialized code like the cottage housing development code.  Therefore, city staff is proposing to use special use permits for cottage housing developments of less than thirteen units and conditional use permits for cottage housing developments of thirteen or more units. 

It is important a cottage housing development fit into an existing neighborhood, therefore, a neighborhood meeting is required before application.  Because design is important, an innovative housing review panel will be established to quickly review design proposals. 

If the new code is adopted, cottage housing will provide an alternative housing option for the citizens of Lake Stevens.

The City is giving a presentation on the proposed Cottage Housing Development Code at the regular City Council meeting on Monday, April 6.  Public hearings will be held at city council meetings on Monday, April 13 and Monday, April 27.

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