Published on Feb 22, 2019

ADU bills diverge in the House and the Senate

Contact: Carl Schroeder, Shannon McClelland

AWC has been working hard on SB 5812 and HB 1797; these proposals significantly preempt the ability of cities to regulate accessory dwelling units (ADUs), commonly referred to as “mother-in-law apartments” or “granny flats.” The general perspective we are hearing from cities is that they support ADUs and, in many cases, are aggressively pursuing them. Cities are looking to incentivize more development of ADUs because they can be a housing type that adds density in a way the community can support. But these companion bills take away many of the tools cities have used to make ADUs a housing type that is supported in the community.

At committee cutoff, both bills have moved out of their policy committees but in significantly different forms.

The House Local Government Committee moved a significantly altered version of HB 1797, when Rep. Sherry Appleton successfully attached an amendment to make the entire bill voluntary. The House Local Government Committee spoke eloquently about the need for local control on ADU policy, and their desire to prioritize that.

The Senate Housing Stability & Affordability Committee moved SB 5812 as a “work in progress.” They adopted an amendment that began to remove some of the more far-reaching preemptions in the bill; for instance, the substitute changes mandates to encouragements as it relates to lot size, owner occupancy, and limiting the preemption on parking.

AWC is still opposed to the Senate bill in its current form. We support the House version as it left committee, but expect that there are many more conversations to take place on this bill.

  • Land use & planning
  • Affordable housing
  • Advocacy
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