Everett City Working To Relax Rules On Accessory Dwelling Units

November 22, 2022

Everett Government


An example of a detached accessory dwelling or “in-law” apartment.

There’s very little undeveloped land within the city limits of Everett, Washington to build new housing. There’s also a huge demand for housing of all types in Everett so one of the solutions under consideration is to add more housing to existing neighborhoods.

Allowing homeowners to build ADUs or Accessory Dwelling Units could bring more housing. Everett allows ADUs but there are lots of restrictions. In 2016 an Everett homeowner wanted to build a detached ADU saying if it was attached to his existing home which was built in 1901 it would take away from its character. The City Council looked at that but ADUs remained heavily regulated and never gained much traction in Everett. In the past two years only 31 ADUs have been permitted in the city limits.

Now Everett is looking at recent State law and Snohomish County planning policies and would like to relax restrictions which should make it easier for homeowners in single family neighborhoods to add up to two accessory dwelling units on their property. (still subject to lot size)

There’s an upcoming public hearing on the issue in front of the City of Everett Planning Commission on December 6th, as well as notice that public comments are being accepted until December 5th on a determination of non-significance that an environmental impact statement is not needed for this plan to move forward.

You can click here to see a list of the proposed code amendments and comments between Planning Commissioners and city staff. Here’s the notice of the public hearing issued this week.

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the City of Everett Planning Commission will hold a public hearing at 6:30 pm on Tuesday, December 6, 2022 on the proposed code amendments.
The in-person/virtual hybrid meeting will be held in the city council chambers located at 3002 Wetmore Ave., Everett.

The City of Everett SEPA Responsible Official, after review of an environmental checklist, has issued a Determination of Nonsignificance (DNS) on the proposed action. Issuance of the DNS is a determination that there will be no probable significant adverse environmental impacts from the proposal and that an environmental impact statement is not required for this non-project action.

Proposed Action:

The proposal implements the City’s Rethink Housing Action Plan Strategy 1.1 related to removing regulatory barriers to constructing new accessory dwelling units (ADUs) citywide. The proposal also responds directly to the city’s 2035 housing capacity shortfall by further encouraging infill housing to help meet adopted population targets, considered a reasonable measure under the Snohomish County Countywide Planning Policies.

The proposed code amendments include changes to the following code section: 19.04.050 Residential Definitions simplifying the definition of ADUs and 19.08.100 Use Standards increasing the number of allowed ADUs per site from one to two; adjusting rear setbacks and maximum height for more flexibility; adjusting parking regulations for more flexibility; removing specific design standards related to matching the principle dwelling unit; removing the requirement for owner occupancy; removing restrictions on unit segregation; and removing modification allowances because of simplified regulations.

Proposal Information:

Accessory Dwelling Units Code Amendment Project Information Web Site: Code Amendments | Everett, WA – Official Website (everettwa.gov)

Any comments on this DNS must be submitted in writing to ramccrary@everettwa.gov during the fourteen (14) day comment period which will end on December 5, 2022.


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