Everett approves doubling Accessory Dwelling Units
EVERETT — The city will allow up to two accessory dwelling units (ADUs) in single-family residential zones, from a City Council vote last week. Part of the change is to meet revisions to state law, but the city has been working on adjusting its ADUs law since 2021.
To meet state law, there will be no longer a requirement that the homeowner lives in the house where an ADU is built, meaning the ADUs can be built and sold as investments akin to condominiums or rentable spaces.
ADUs will be allowed in backyards and placed up to the edge of an alley. Height limits would be loosened but capped at 28 feet. The ADU wouldn’t have to look like the main house, either.
Urbanists say the small sized buildings will yield more places to live at lower-than-market rent prices.
Opponents living in Everett’s single-family neighborhoods are concerned by the perceived impacts these secondary houses will have. A resident along Grand Avenue, for example, told the City Council before its vote that approving two ADUs goes against the city’s attested commitment to preserving the character of neighborhoods and take away backyards. Others expressed concerns ADUs in traditional residential neighborhoods can compromise neighbor safety as random people would be living in the smaller units.
In recent years, the city has approved an average of 20 ADUs a year. City planners calculate the change could prompt creating more than 70 ADUs each year to the year 2035.
The council overrode the planning commission’s recommendation to not allow ADUs in some urban residential zones. The zone in question is intended for multi-family residential buildings.
Council members said if people do not like the state-required ADU rules, they would need to ask state legislators to make changes.
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