My original post was overly dramatic...I'm pretty sure this deserves a double barf.
On Sept. 23, the Bellevue City Council took the first steps to curb what officials say is an emerging business model — not just in Bellevue, but in Auburn, Edmonds and Lynnwood, as well as in numerous cities around the country — through an emergency ordinance that limits the number of unrelated adults living in one house to four. It’s patterned after an ordinance Auburn recently approved; it also requires homeowners to live at the house if they are going to rent out rooms and limits the rooms rented to two. It does not prevent group homes for the elderly or disabled.
Bellevue is now working on a permanent ordinance. The first public hearing is scheduled for Nov. 4.
The increased need for affordable housing in the Northwest has brought a variety of ways to meet that need. Renters take on an entire house and sublet rooms without the owners’ knowledge. Homeowners rent rooms to several roommates to meet the mortgage.
Review Craigslist ads and you’ll find a Redmond couple looking for five roommates, at $700 a room, to help pay the mortgage. An Edmonds woman is looking for a third roommate to pay $650 a room in the house she rents near Edmonds Community College — parking not included. And someone in Lynnwood is renting rooms in one house for $600 each.
Seattle has licensed boardinghouses that provide affordable places for people on small incomes. These places meet building codes and provide a safe environment, which makeshift boardinghomes might not.
In neighborhoods where single-family homes end up being converted to boardinghouses, neighbors complain about yards not being kept up, trash collecting, rats and traffic. Some of the homes that developers bought in Spiritwood appear run down and have unkempt yards, a contrast with the rest of the neighborhood.
Nationwide, using single-family homes as boardinghouses is a problem, especially whenever there is a college nearby, said Bellevue City Councilmember Kevin Wallace.
“For years, Bellevue has carefully protected the character of the neighborhoods ... so here are these investors looking to skirt the zoning. ... We’ve had multiple complaints,” Wallace said. “This is not the first time I’ve noticed it happening, but not on this scale.’’
Under Bellevue’s emergency ordinance there are no penalties for operating a boardinghouse in a single-family home until July 2014, when a permanent ordinance will go into effect, say city officials. In the meantime, an ample supply of needy renters is a tempting incentive for developers.
Neighborhoods do change over time, said Councilmember John Chelminiak. And affordable housing is a need.
“That’s something we’ll have to address. How do you make redevelopment occur so the neighborhood feels comfortable with it?’’
Edmonds Community College runs three apartment facilities, and there are a lot more apartments in the area. Bellevue College doesn't run any housing, but they probably need to build some because of the lack of affordable housing for students in the area.If or when Bellevue College starts offering more than applied 4 year degrees which says most of those students work in the area thus not in need of student housing then I can see this becoming an issue but for now I don't see a huge demand for student housing.
So the city is now in the business of making sure these people eat Sunday dinners together?..is requiring congregate housing with kitchens in separate units to prove they "regularly and customarily engage in aspects of group or co-dependent living". One might think living in congregate housing by definition shows you engage in group living, no?
Can you dumb this down even further for me? I don't understand what the kitchen has to do with anything and what the end goal of this is?The DPD is adding design review for aPodments, requiring parking (ugh) for some cases, banning them in SF zones (they already were, but this could harm current room mate situations), and is requiring congregate housing with kitchens in separate units to prove they "regularly and customarily engage in aspects of group or co-dependent living". One might think living in congregate housing by definition shows you engage in group living, no?
Because when something seems to be working in Seattle, neighbors jump to opposing it and the city jumps to make them happy.
Story Notice Code
I think I can sum up the angst of aPodments in two words: cars and design. If there was once one house, even a large house that may have had 4 apartment units in it, you probably had 4-8 cars max for that house, and probably parking for two of them off street. Now you have 32 housing units in the same space, and if half the residents have cars, you're up to 16 cars--all of which will be taking up parking spaces on the street.Oh wow, I appreciate the detailed break down Matt. I just can't understand why people complain about increased density in the densest neighborhoods! I could understand complaints by neighbors of a 32 unit apodment complex in the middle of a SFH neighborhood in say West Seattle but I can't understand the complains on Cap Hill and the U District. If there's a demand for apodments then what are people upset about? The fact that people are moving into their neighborhood? Then move to Chehalis!