The Edmonds City Council at its Tuesday, May 9 meeting learned more about a proposed amendment to the city code that would allow unit lot subdivisions in Edmonds.
There will be a public hearing on the proposal at the next council meeting Tuesday, May 16.
Planning Manager Rob Chave explained that this particular code amendment came about via a request from a private applicant, Westgate Woods LLC, which is planning a multi-family project in Edmonds.
The Edmonds Planning Board held a public hearing on that request April 26 and recommended that the City Council approve the amendment.
Although the request was made for a specific project, the code amendment if approved could be applied in the both multifamily residential (RM) and general commercial (CG) zones as well as portions of the Westgate mixed use zone, Chave added.
Unit lot subdivisions provide an alternative form of ownership for multi-family housing but do not change the underlying zoning. Housing units built in this way allow for “fee simple” ownership, Chave said, with lot lines placed around each of the units.
The proposal has already been reviewed by the Edmonds Planning Board, which provided several amendments to the proposal based on citizen comments. Among them was a requirement that a homeowners association and agreements for maintenance are established if the development is done in a way where there are common areas or where there are multiple units in one building.
“I think this really is an opportunity for home ownership,” said Councilmember Neil Tibbot. referring to the “Missing Middle” concept of multi-unit housing types such as duplexes or fourplexes. Notes Wikipedia: “Although many of these are a common feature in pre-war building stocks, these housing types have become much less common (hence the “missing”).”
“It’s a way of doing small-scale home ownership without larger lots that frankly add to the cost,” Chave said. “Some people like this type of development and for them, it’s a little more affordable than if you buy a traditional single-family home on a larger piece of ground.”
The council also heard Mayor Dave Earling read a proclamation regarding National Historic Preservation much, with Tim Raetzloff accepting on behalf of the Edmonds Historic Preservation Commission.
After the regular meeting, councilmembers then broke into their respective committees to study items before them.
In the Finance Committee meeting, Chair Diane Buckshnis and Councilmember Dave Teitzel considered a proposal from City Clerk Scott Passey to adopt a policy that outlines when Edmonds business owners can have late fees for business license renewal payments waived or reversed. Passey noted that in any case, the procedure for business license payments is likely to change soon; a new law passed in 2017 by the Washington State Legislature will require most cities to partner with the Department of Revenue to administer general business licenses. The Finance Committee agreed to move the item on to next week’s consent agenda for council approval.
— By Teresa Wippel