Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Laurelhurst Resident On City Panel To Discuss Development of Tall, Skinny Houses on Single Family Lots Tomorrow Night

The Department of Transportation and Development (DPD) is having a panel discussion, representing different views, to explore some potential permanent standards on developing small single-family lots, tomorrow from 6-7:30pm in the Bertha Knight Landes Room at City Hall.

A Blog reader told us that Laurelhurst resident John Taylor, whose home is directly impacted by developer Dan Duffus' tall skinny house
currently under construction at 4812 NE 40th Street, is the neighborhood representative on the panel. The reader said that he "is extremely knowledgeable and articulate, and will represent Seattle homeowners well."

"While there won't be an opportunity for public comment at the meeting, it should be a good discussion of the issue by three panelists," another reader commented.

The developer's house, southeast of Laurelhurst Park, sits on a piece of property 30 feet wide, which was segmented out of a larger one, only 80 feet wide. Many of Duffus' houses sit only 3 feet from the next door neighbor's house.

Dan Duffus is well-known around the city for building these tall skinny houses on very small lots, of which the houses are modern in style, towering over the established homes beneath them and don't fit in with the character of the neighborhood.

Tomorrow's panel discussion information says:

Please join us for a panel discussion about the City of Seattle's effort to update standards and exceptions for developing on small lots in Single Family zones.

DPD recently determined that development under current standards is often out of character with the surrounding neighborhood. Interim measures were put in place to prevent additional permits on these small lots while this issue is being studied.

The panel presentation will discuss the issues that we will address when the code is amended. Panel participants will include a neighborhood representative, and representatives from the King County Master Builders and the Seattle Planning Commission.
Online comments and written comments will be accepted from the public through December 3. 

As Duffus began to buy numerous lots througout Seattle to build his tall,skinny houses, a number of Laurelhurst residents as well as otherresidents throughout the city affected by this type of developments,joined a multi-neighborhood Seattle wide movement called One Home Per Lot.

Their website explains the issue in detail, shows how to get involved and details Duffus' track record and lists the effects these projects have had on neighborhoods like Laurelhurst, Fremont, Wallingford and Montlake, to name only a few throughout Seattle. Here are photos of Duffus' homes throughout the city.

Nick Jenkins, a Laurelhurst resident, who lives next door to a tall, skinny house in Laurelhurst posted his experience on his family Blog this summer, with the new construction home right next door to him.

Following tomorrow night's panel discussion, DPD will prepare recommendations for code amendment legislation, likely available for public review by mid-December. Around March of next year, City Council will be holding a public meetings on the issue.

The emergency ordinance will remain in effect until the new rules/regulations are implemented (and the emergency ordinance can be extended if need be). The legislation requires lots to be at least 50% of the size of a legitimate building lot and restricts the size of houses in lots smaller than 3750 square feet to that of an accessory dwelling unit. Here is an article in the Seattle Weekly about the legislation.

(picture courtesy of DPD site)

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