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An Online Portal for Designing Accessory Dwelling Units

The ADUniverse website offers pre-approved designs for homeowners who want to add Accessory Dwelling Units on properties in Seattle.
September 17, 2020, 11am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Nicolás Boullosa

The city of Seattle recently rolled out a website called ADUniverse to make it easier for homeowners to add accessory dwelling units in the city. According to an article by Doug Trumm, the ADUniverse site offers ten "pre-approved accessory dwelling unit (ADU) designs and other information to help homeowners navigate the process of adding a backyard cottage or mother-in-law apartment (or two) to their lot."

The website goes online a little over a year after the Seattle City Council approved a package of long-awaited zoning reforms intended to increase the number of ADUs built around the city and curb the proliferation of mansionization projects on single-family residential lots.

Since the June approval of the city's new ADU rules, planners in the city have been generating the pre-approved designs, according to Trumm, leaning on the local architecture community for designs. The effort met controversy along the way after architects accused the city of failing to compensate the labor necessary to create the designs.

Trumm adds a note of caution to homeowners interested in adding an ADU in the near future—though the website is designed to ease the process, "a considerable amount of fees and hoops to jump through remain, including a site plan."

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Published on Tuesday, September 15, 2020 in The Urbanist
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