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Scoping comment period extended for ADU/Backyard Cottage Environmental Impact Statement

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On October 2, we began the environmental review process to study the effects of removing barriers to creating accessory dwelling units (ADUs), often called in-law units and backyard cottages, in single-family zones. The first phase of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process is to determine the scope of our analysis. Thank you to everyone who has submitted comments with suggestions for what we should consider in our study.

We know there’s a lot of interest in this topic, and we want to make sure we’re hearing from everyone who would like to participate. To give people more time to submit comments on our alternatives and proposed scope, we are extending the scoping comment period 15 days to November 16. We have also published the comments received as of October 30 through the online comment form, by email, and at the two scoping meetings. (We are still reviewing comments and may not have posted every comment received to date; we will post all submitted comments with the final scoping report.)

What are we proposing?

ADUs are small, secondary dwelling units inside, attached to, or in the rear yard of a single-family house. The objectives of our proposal are to:

  • make it easier for property owners to permit and build ADUs and backyard cottages
  • increase the number and variety of housing choices available in single-family zones
  • encourage creation of small-scale, family-friendly homes affordable to a range of households

The proposal we’re studying involves allowing both an attached and detached ADU on the same lot, removing the existing off-street parking and owner-occupancy requirements, and changing some development standards that regulate the size and location of backyard cottages. Based on a decision from the City’s Hearing Examiner in December 2016, this EIS will review the potential environmental impacts of the proposal.

 What is scoping?

Before we begin the environmental analysis, the scoping phase is a chance to hear your ideas for the alternatives and types of impacts we should focus on. Scoping is not when we consider whether to implement certain policy changes — that occurs after we’ve completed the EIS process, and you’ll have opportunities to weigh in on the proposal then.

You can send us a scoping comment in several ways:

For more information about the ADUs, backyard cottages, and the EIS process, visit