LFP Council Corner – Planning Commission’s recommendations for ADU Code to be discussed at November 4 meeting

Saturday, October 30, 2021

LFP Deputy Mayor Phillippa Kassover
By Lake Forest Park Deputy Mayor Phillippa Kassover

We are all aware that housing shortages in our region are driving the cost of homes out of reach to many young families, empty nesters, and retirees. 

Elected officials throughout the Puget Sound area have been grappling with how to increase the number of housing units to accommodate the growth of our region’s workforce and the needs of those with lower or fixed incomes, without destroying the essential character of our cities, towns, and neighborhoods. 

Many of our neighboring cities have created special Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) zones along transit corridors, near stops and stations, which allow more density than in other neighborhoods.

Here in Lake Forest Park, the Council approved the addition of 250 units in the Town Center property, adjacent to the SR 522 Bus Rapid Transit station, with requirements for affordable units. The Council also approved an ordinance offering tax incentives to all LFP multifamily property owners and developers who include a percentage of affordable units in their buildings.

To meet our community values of providing diverse housing options, while preserving the climate resilience provided by our valuable urban forest, the Council also asked the Planning Commission to review our Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) ordinance, which allows the inclusion of apartments in the main house or the addition of a detached cottage (DADU) on the property. 

Over the past few years, Council had heard from a variety of homeowners that the current ordinance was very restrictive, including preventing the building of detached units in front or side yards, even though many of our homes in LFP are built in the rear of the property.

Over this past summer, the Planning Commission thoroughly reviewed the ordinance and surveyed the community about the issue. After much thoughtful discussion, the Commission has now forwarded its recommendations to the Council, which will begin discussions at a special meeting at 7pm on Thursday, November 4, 2021.

The Planning Commission has made several key recommendations, including:
  1. removal of the rear-yard restriction, 
  2. continuation of the current owner-occupancy requirements, 
  3. raising the height restriction to 25 feet to allow building an apartment on top of a garage or other structure, and 
  4. allowing both an ADU and a DADU on larger lots of one acre or more.

Click here to learn more about the survey findings and the Commission’s work.

As always, the City Council encourages all residents with an interest in these issues to tune in to our meetings and to make public comment or email the Council


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