A neighborhood fight over tiny apartments with no parking leads to city hall proposing a Seattle-wide law to help developers
By George Howland Jr, Contributing Writer
On Phinney Ridge, the issues of parking, affordability and transit have collided.
The site of the crash was Phinney Flats, a proposed 4-story, 52-Small-Efficiency-Dwelling-Unit (SEDU—pronounced “see do”) building with zero parking. Livable Phinney, its neighborhood opponents, appealed the proposed building’s permit and won, most significantly over inadequate transit service.
Now city hall wants to pass a new law that will change the rules going forward so that developers can more easily build multi-family housing without parking. Livable Phinney wants city hall to consider another approach: the no-car lease.
Early next year, the Seattle City Council will take up the issues.
SEDUs are a popular new form of multi-family housing. In a September study, Colliers’ Seattle Multifamily Team projects that 2,271 SEDUs will be developed next year. In comparison, last year 8,300 new residences were built in Seattle, mostly apartments. SEDUs are self-contained, tiny, apartments between 220 and 300 square feet, and the buildings don’t provide parking. According to Colliers, SEDUs’ rents average $1275—significantly cheaper than studio apartments, which average $1546. Colliers also notes that SEDUs are more profitable to build.