We Need NSHD Residents Help with Zoning Issue Again

The City Planning Commission has been developing code to allow Detached Accessory Dwelling Units (DADU), or basically garage apartments, in all single-family zones. The Board is concerned about the allowed size and adding more density to our neighborhood, so we are suggesting some changes to that code.

What would be allowed is a building up to 1000 sf on a 5000 sf lot with no additional parking required.

We invite you to send specific comments to the Planning Commission no later than Oct. 3rd. Send your comments to: lwung@cityoftacoma.org.

The Hearing where you can speak is Oct. 3, City Council Chambers, 5:30pm.

Suggested changes for comment:

1. Require a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for any new DADU in NSHD because of our high density of 18 units/acre. In addition, the proposed amnesty program will legalize the15-20 existing illegal units already in the district, which will likely give us more than any other neighborhood without any new ones.

2. Lot size too small. Minimum lot size of new DADU is 5000 sf which leaves little room for a backyard. The minimum lot size should be 6000 sf, the same required for duplexes, which is what results from adding a DADU – two separate living units on one lot.

3. Require the DADU to be sized appropriately to the lot. DADUs should be smaller than the main house. They should be no larger than 800 sf with a height of no more than 15 ft., which, given the city’s method of measurement, means about 20 ft. for a building with a pitched roof. Total lot coverage by all accessory buildings (garage and sheds) should be kept at 15% of the lot, especially on lots of less than 6000 sf.

4. Require all DADUs to meet minimum design standards. Luckily, any DADU within city historic districts like the NSHD and Wedge must meet our district design guidelines and be approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. However, the Planning Commission removed all design requirements for DADUs outside those districts. All DADUs in Tacoma should meet minimum design standards to be consistent with the style and character of the main house and neighborhood. 

If you would like to read the draft of the code, visit this site:

http://cms.cityoftacoma.org/planning/DADU/ADU_PublicHearingPacket (PC 10-3-18).pdf

Be sure to scroll down far enough to see the diagrams showing house sizes, lot sizes, and then allowed DADU size. Whew!

Questions? Julie Turner, Comm. Chair, NSHD, Inc.