Cottage housing moratorium may be extended

  • Brooke Fisher<br>Enterprise editor
  • Monday, March 3, 2008 6:48am

SHORELINE — A six-month long moratorium on cottage housing in Shoreline may be extended after the Planning Commission voted to recommended the action.

The Shoreline City Council must now approve the recommendation in order for it to be enacted.

Rachael Markle, associate planning director for the city, said planning commission members voted at the June 15 meeting to extend the cottage housing moratorium for six more months.

“The thought was that they honestly need a little more time to go over issues,” Markle said. “They’ve gotten a lot of information from the public in the past month.”

Markle said Planning Commission members indicated they may only need one more month, rather than six, to complete their review of cottage housing and offer a recommendation to the City Council.

Two issues that Planning Commission members need more time to discuss, Markle said, are alternatives for creating density besides cottage housing, and the compatibility of developments in established residential neighborhoods.

The moratorium comes after public concern arose from neighbors in the 500-foot vicinity of property in the 19100 block of Eighth Avenue NW, which was targeted for a proposed development of 16 cottage-style houses on a 1.38-acre site. Neighbors overwhelmingly pointed out that such a development would not adhere to the character of the neighborhood, with a higher density and lower quality of housing. The proposal for cottage housing at the location has since been abandoned by the developer.

The Council adopted an emergency ordinance Aug. 23, 2004 in order to establish a six-month moratorium on cottage housing. There are currently seven cottage housing projects either built or being built in the city.

To address the issue of cottage housing, city staff have conducted bus tours of cottage housing in Shoreline, as well as scheduled a community meeting on May 11.

Resident Bronston Kenney is not impressed with the city’s process and how staff have addressed concerns about cottage housing.

“As constituents, we felt we would be participants, but we have been excluded from the deliberative process,” Kenney said. “We have not gotten a place at the table.”

Kenney said a bus tour of cottage housing that was open to the public was nothing more than a sales pitch, emphasizing one cottage housing development in particular that is not bothersome to the surrounding neighborhood.

Kenney is in favor of extending the moratorium. He said cottage housing is like a game of “Russian Roulette,” where neighbors hope at best for no gain, but to preserve their property value.

Currently, cottage housing requires a Conditional Use Permit in areas zoned R-4 and R-6, and specific regulations for cottage housing are identified in the Shoreline Development Code, which include restrictions on the number of homes, setbacks, height limits, open space, floor area, building cluster, porch size and parking.

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