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Queen Anne residents thwart backyard cottage plan for all Seattle

A view of one of Cast Architecture's backyard cottages. The firm has been a leader promoting backyard cottages in Seattle
Courtesy of Cast Architecture
A backyard cottage in Seattle built by Cast Architecture.

A housing plan to bring more backyard cottages to Seattle was halted Tuesday when the city's hearing examiner ruled that the proposal needs to undergo a full environmental review, not just approval through the city council.

The plan would have let people rent out both a backyard cottage and mother in law unit, even for landlords who don't live on the property. It also would have given landlords more flexibility over the size of the rental space.

The Queen Anne Community Council, which brought the challenge, is celebrating the hearing examiner's ruling.

Martin Kaplan is with that neighborhood group: "It's essentially creating triplexes where one single family home now exists. And not only would that change the character of the neighborhood, you'd have absentee landlords that have no interest in the neighborhood."

He says city officials were moving too fast, so the community group requested a further review.

Councilmember Mike O'Brien has led the proposal hoping to make more affordable housing available in Seattle. In a statement, O'Brien said he's looking at the decision and weighing options.