State of Washington
67th Legislature
2021 Regular Session
BySenators Gildon, Liias, Darneille, Das, Kuderer, Nguyen, Nobles, Short, and Warnick
Read first time 01/14/21.Referred to Committee on Housing & Local Government.
AN ACT Relating to regulation of accessory dwelling units located outside of urban growth areas; amending RCW 36.70A.697; and creating a new section.
NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1. The legislature finds that in 2020, the legislature enacted ESSB 6617 (sections 1 through 5, chapter 217, Laws of 2020), to encourage the construction of accessory dwelling units in cities. In passing this law, the legislature found that "Washington state is experiencing a housing affordability crisis. Many communities across the state are in need of more housing for renters, across the income spectrum. Accessory dwelling units are frequently rented at below market rate, providing additional affordable housing options for renters," and that "accessory dwelling units are often occupied by tenants who pay no rent at all; among these tenants are grandparents, adult children, family members with disabilities, friends going through life transitions, and community members in need. Accessory dwelling units meet the needs of these people who might otherwise require scarce subsidized housing space and resources." The legislature further intended "to promote and encourage the creation of accessory dwelling units as a means to address the need for additional affordable housing options."
The legislature finds that these legislative findings also apply to the need for accessory dwelling units in rural areas, and that specific limitations are necessary to balance creating additional housing supply with preserving rural character.
Sec. 2. RCW 36.70A.697 and 2020 c 217 s 3 are each amended to read as follows:
(1) Cities must adopt or amend by ordinance, and incorporate into their development regulations, zoning regulations, and other official controls the requirements of RCW 36.70A.698 to take effect by July 1, 2021.
(2) Beginning July 1, 2021, the requirements of RCW 36.70A.698:
(a) Apply and take effect in any city that has not adopted or amended ordinances, regulations, or other official controls as required under this section; and
(b) Supersede, preempt, and invalidate any local development regulations that conflict with RCW 36.70A.698.
(3) Detached accessory dwelling units located outside of urban growth areas will not be included in the calculation of housing density in that area, if such detached accessory dwelling units are subject to local development regulations that impose the following limitations:
(a) No parcel shall have more than one detached accessory dwelling unit;
(b) The location, size, and appearance of detached accessory dwelling units shall be consistent with rural character and shall not interfere with any agricultural or other natural resource use of the property;
(c) Detached accessory dwelling units shall be located in close proximity to the primary dwelling unit; and
(d) The square footage of a detached accessory dwelling unit shall not exceed 50 percent of the square footage of the primary dwelling unit.
(4) This act does not apply to detached accessory dwelling units in existence as of the effective date of this section.
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