Redmond, WA Innovative Housing Code

As adopted by city - before any courtyard revisions 8-15-02

20C.30 Residential

20C.30.52 Cottage Housing Developments.

20C.30.52-010 Purpose.

The purpose of this section is to: (1) provide a housing type that responds to changing household sizes and ages (e.g., retirees, small families, single person households); (2) provide opportunities for ownership of small, detached dwelling units within a single-family neighborhood; (3) encourage creation of more usable open space for residents of the development through flexibility in density and lot standards; (4) support the growth management goal of more efficient use of urban residential land; and, (5) provide guidelines to ensure compatibility with surrounding land uses.

20C.30.52-020 Applicability.

Cottage Housing Developments are allowed in all areas of the City designated Low-Moderate Density Residential, when permitted through a neighborhood plan. See RCDG 20C.30.52-060 Supplemental Neighborhood Requirements for cottage development standards specific to neighborhoods.

20C.30.52-030 Cottage Housing Development Size.

Cottage Housing Developments shall contain a minimum of four and a maximum of 12 cottages located in a cluster to encourage a sense of community among the residents. A development site may contain more than one Cottage Housing Development.

20C.30.52-040 Special Site Requirements for Cottage Housing Developments.

(1) Density, Lot Coverage, Height, Setback and Parking Requirements.

(a) Intent. The Site Requirements Chart establishes the basic dimensional requirements for cottages. Development standards are intended to define design parameters of cottages to achieve compatibility with adjacent single-family residential uses. For site requirements not specified below that may apply, see RCDG 20C.30.25-140, Site Requirements Chart and Flexibility for the R-6 zoning category.

(b) Requirements. Cottage Housing Developments Site Requirements Chart

Site Requirement
Cottages Allowed in Place of Each Standard Single-Family Home Allowed by the Density of the Zone 1
Minimum Lot Frontage (in feet) 2
Setbacks for All Structures from Adjacent Property Lines Along the Perimeter of the Site (except front or any public street setback)3, 4 10'
Front or any Public Street Setback5
Minimum Distance Between Structures, (including accessory structures)4 10'
Maximum Lot Coverage for Structures
40 percent
Maximum Impervious Surface Area
60 percent
Minimum Open Space See RCDG 20C.30.52-040(3), Required Minimum Open Space
Maximum Height for Cottages and Accessory Structures
Maximum Height for Cottages with Minimum Roof Slope of 6:126
Parking Spaces per Cottage7

1. For the purpose of this calculation, fractional values shall be rounded to the nearest whole number (0.5 and above, round up; below 0.5, round down). In no case shall the number of cottages allowed in place of each standard sized house exceed 2.
2. For private streets and access corridors serving less than three lots and accessing directly onto a public street, lot frontage may be reduced to 14 feet.
3. When vehicular access to a Cottage Housing Development is from an alley or access corridor, a four-foot minimum rear setback is allowed.
4. Except standard architectural projections up to a maximum of 18 inches in depth and 6 feet in width, and eaves up to 1.5 feet.
5. Front orientation shall be determined by the lot on which the Cottage Housing Development is located as it addresses a public street or access corridor.
6. All parts of the roof above 18 feet shall be pitched. The maximum height of any portion of the roof, except chimneys or cupolas, shall not exceed 25 feet anywhere on the site.
7. The Technical Committee may reduce parking requirements based on the applicant's demonstration of site specific factors that justify a lower standard, such as opportunities for transit service or anticipated number of residents.

(2) Cottage Floor Area.

(a) Intent.

(i) Scale of development. To ensure that the overall size, including bulk and mass of cottage structures and Cottage Housing Developments, remain smaller and incur less visual impact than standard sized single-family dwellings, particularly given the allowed intensity of cottage dwellings.

(ii) Variety. To provide variety in Cottage Housing Developments through a mixture of building sizes and building footprints.

(b) Requirements.

(i) The total floor area of each cottage shall not exceed either 1.5 times the area of the main floor or 1,000 square feet, whichever is less. Attached garages shall be included in the calculation of total floor area.

(ii) Cottage areas that do not count toward the total floor area calculation are:

(A) Unheated storage space located under the main floor of the cottage.
(B) Architectural projections, such as bay windows, fireplaces or utility closets not greater than 18 inches in depth or six feet in width.
(C) Attached roofed porches.
(D) Detached garages or carports.
(E) Spaces with a ceiling height of six feet or less measured to the exterior walls, such as in a second floor area under the slope of the roof.
(F) The Code Administrator may approve other exemptions similar in nature provided the intent of this section is met.

(iii) The maximum main floor area for cottages is 800 square feet. For the purposes of this calculation, the area of interior stairway may be allocated between floors served.

(iv) A minimum of 40 percent of the cottages and not more than 50 percent shall have main floors of 700 square feet or less. For example: in a five cottage development, two of the cottages would need to have main floors of 700 square feet or less and the other three cottages could have main floors of up to 800 square feet. For fractional numbers, 0.5 and above, round up; below 0.5 round down.

(v) The total square foot area of a cottage dwelling unit may not be increased. A note shall be placed on the title to the property for the purpose of notifying future property owners that any increase in the total square footage of a cottage is prohibited for the life of the cottage or duration of City cottage regulations.

(3) Required Minimum Open Space.

(a) Intent. The minimum open space requirements are intended to provide a sense of openness and visual relief in Cottage Housing Developments. Common Open Space shall provide a centrally located, focal area for the Cottage Housing Development. The common area shall be outside of wet stormwater ponds, wetlands, streams, lakes, and sensitive area buffers and on slopes of 10 percent or less and developed and maintained so it is usable for active or passive recreation activities. Private Open Space shall provide private area around the individual dwellings to enable diversity in landscape design.

(b) Requirements.

(i) Common Open Space shall:

(A) Be a minimum of 400 square feet per cottage.

(B) Abut at least 50 percent of the cottages in a Cottage Housing Development.

(C) Have cottages abutting on at least two sides.

(ii) Cottages shall:

(A) Be oriented around and have the main entry from the common open space.

(B) Be within 60 feet walking distance of the common open space.

(iii) Private Open Space shall:

(A) Be a minimum of 300 square feet of private, contiguous, usable open space adjacent to each dwelling unit, for the exclusive use of the cottage resident. It shall be oriented toward the common open space as much as possible, with no dimension less than 10 feet.

(B) Additionally, cottages shall have a roofed porch at least 80 square feet in size with a minimum dimension of eight feet on any side.

(4) Parking Location and Screening.

(a) Intent. To ensure minimal visual impact from vehicular use and storage areas for residents of the Cottage Housing Development as well as adjacent properties, and to maintain a single-family character along public streets.

(b) Requirements. Parking shall be:

(i) Located on the Cottage Housing Development property.

(ii) Screened from public streets and adjacent residential uses by landscaping or architectural screening.

(iii) Located in clusters of not more than five adjoining spaces.

(iv) Prohibited in the front yard setback area. (See Footnote 5, Cottage Housing Developments Site Requirements Chart.)

(v) Prohibited within 40 feet of a public street, except: single loaded parking is allowed in a maximum 50 foot wide area when setback a minimum of 15 feet from a public street. (See Figure 1)

(vi) Allowed between or adjacent to structures only when it is located toward the rear of the principal structure and is served by an alley or private driveway.

(vii) A pitched roof design is required for all parking structures. If a parking structure is attached to a cottage unit, review by the Design Review Board shall be required.

(viii) The Code Administrator may approve other methods provided the intent of this section is met.

(5) Accessory Dwelling Units. RCDG Section 20C.30.35 provides for Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) in residential areas. For the purposes of this section, additional requirements for ADUs are as follows:

(a) The number of accessory dwelling units (ADUs), either attached or detached, that are permitted in a Cottage Housing Development shall be based on the underlying density calculation for standard sized dwellings that would be attributed to that site. For example, if the density calculation for a site indicates that three standard size homes would be allowed, then 3 ADUs plus the number of cottages allowed would be the total number of dwelling units permitted on the site. (For fractional values of 0.5 and above, round up; below 0.5, round down.)

(b) The size of an accessory dwelling unit shall be subordinate to that of the primary, or cottage dwelling. For any ADU, the total square footage of the ADU shall not exceed the lesser of (i) 500 square feet or (ii) 40 percent of the total square footage of the primary dwelling unit and the accessory dwelling unit combined. ADUs attached to a cottage shall count in the 1,000 square feet maximum floor area. ADUs in a detached structure do not count in the 1,000 square foot maximum floor area.
Insert - Figure 1, Parking for Cottages

(c) Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are allowed in Cottage Housing Developments only when proposed at the time of initial cottage development application.

(d) Review by the Design Review Board may be required.

(e) Accessory Dwelling Units are not allowed with cottages in the Willows/Rose Hill Neighborhood.

(6) Community Buildings. A Cottage Housing Development may contain community building(s) that are clearly incidental in use or size and related to the dwelling units. Such community buildings shall be located on the same site as the Cottage Housing Development and be commonly owned by the residents.

(7) Existing Dwellings. An existing detached or attached single-family dwelling that is incorporated into a Cottage Housing Development as a residence and is nonconforming with respect to the standards of this section shall be permitted to remain on a site used for a Cottage Housing Development. However, the extent of the non-compliance may not be increased unless the proposed change is determined by the Code Administrator to be consistent in character, scale and design with the Cottage Housing Development. If the existing dwelling meets the requirements of this section with regard to size and is able to conform to other site standards, it may be counted as a cottage in the density calculation for the site. If the existing dwelling does not meet the size limitation for a cottage, then it shall count as one standard size dwelling.

20C.30.52-050 Neighborhood Meeting.

(1) Intent. The purpose of having neighborhood meetings is to provide residents who live adjacent and nearby the proposed Cottage Housing Development with opportunities, in addition to those provided in RCDG 20F, to obtain information about the proposal and provide comment on the overall project design and concept before an applicant expends significant time and resources in developing the specific site and development features of the proposal.

(2) Requirements.

(a) The project applicant for a Cottage Housing Development is required to hold a minimum of one neighborhood meeting. The meeting shall be held early in the permit review process.

(b) Notification of the meeting shall be mailed to property owners within 500 feet of the proposal and a sign will be posted on site, according to the requirements of RCDG 20F.30.35-020(2), Notice of Application Requirements of Type II Review.

(c) The City shall participate in neighborhood meetings.

20C.30.52-060 Supplemental Neighborhood Requirements: Willows/Rose Hill

(1) Applicability. Cottage Housing Developments are allowed in areas designated Low-Moderate Density Residential in the Willows/Rose Hill Neighborhood. Developments of less than four cottages are also allowed in the Willows/Rose Hill Neighborhood. All developments of cottage housing in this neighborhood shall conform to the requirements of RCDG 20C.30.52, Cottage Housing Developments as well as the requirements listed below under (2) General Requirements. Specific requirements for cottage developments in the Willows/Rose Hill Neighborhood of one, two or three cottages are provided under (3) Requirements for Cottage Housing of Less Than Four Dwellings.

(2) General Requirements.

(a) Density in the Residential Innovative Zone. When cottages are used to fulfill the requirements for smaller dwelling units in the Residential Innovative zone, 1.5 cottages will be allowed in place of each smaller unit. For the purpose of this calculation, fractional values shall be rounded to the nearest whole number (0.5 and above, round up; below 0.5, round down).

(b) Design Standards. Supplemental design standards applicable to cottages are contained in RCDG 20C.70.50-040 and -050.

(c) Location Criteria for the NE Rose Hill Sub-area. No more than five Cottage Housing Development applications or 40 cottages (whichever occurs first) shall be accepted for sites within 500 feet of each other in the NE Rose Hill Sub-area until an evaluation of compatibility with the neighborhood sub-area is completed.

(i) The Technical Committee shall conduct the evaluation and make a recommendation in consultation with a representative neighborhood group and shall consider whether the number and character of cottage developments is compatible with surrounding land uses. This evaluation and recommendation should be completed within four to six months of the date of application of the cottage housing development triggering this evaluation.

(ii) The review and decision process for this evaluation shall occur through a Type IV process as a Community Development Guide Amendment. The decision on the evaluation shall result in either: (a) allowing submittal of new cottage housing applications, with or without amendments to the Community Development Guide in response to compatibility issues, or (b) suspending further cottage housing development.

(3) Requirements for Cottage Housing of Less Than Four Dwellings: The requirements in RCDG 20C.30.52, Cottage Housing Developments shall also apply to the development of one, two or three cottages in the Willows/Rose Hill Neighborhood with the following exceptions and conditions:

(a) Setbacks. All setbacks shall conform to those listed under the R-6 zone in RCDG 20C.30.25-140, Site Requirements Chart and Flexibility. RCDG 20C.30.25-080(2)(f), Side/Interior Setbacks shall apply. Refer to RCDG 20C.30.52-040(1)(b), Cottage Housing Developments Site Requirements Chart for specific requirements concerning encroachments.

(b) Cottage Floor Area. RCDG 20C.30.52-040(2)(b)(iv), concerning mix of building footprints, shall not apply.

(c) Required Minimum Open Space. Open Space requirements shall conform to RCDG 20C.30.25-120, Minimum Open Space - Landscaping - Buffers, according to the underlying zoning in which the cottage is located. Additionally:

(i) If the development consists of three cottages, the dwellings should be clustered around a common open space consistent with RCDG 20C.30.52-040(3).

(ii) Cottages shall have a roofed porch at least 80 square feet in size with a minimum dimension of eight feet on any side.

(d) Parking Location and Screening. RCDG 20C.30.52-040(4)(b)(v) concerning parking location shall not apply.

(e) Neighborhood Meeting. The requirement for a neighborhood meeting as described in 20C.30.52-050 shall be waived; however, communication with neighbors concerning a proposal is encouraged.

(4) Demonstration Project. Consistent with Policy N-WR-E-4, a neighborhood demonstration project that incorporates innovative housing, including cottages, will undergo review of project design through community input and a Type III Review Process, including review by the Design Review Board. If the project can demonstrate adherence to the overall design intent of the cottage regulations, flexibility in standards for cottages may be allowed.

20A.20.030 "C" Definitions


A cottage is a small, detached dwelling unit, not greater than 1,000 square feet in total floor area that is developed at a density greater than the underlying zone. More than one cottage may occupy a single lot.

Cottage Housing Development.

A cottage housing development is detached single family housing in a cluster of four to 12 dwelling units around a central open space and has the following characteristics:

(1). Each unit is of a size and function suitable for a single person or very small family;

(2). Each unit has the construction characteristics of a single-family house;

(3). Units may be located on platted lots or as units in a condominium and may share use of common facilities such as a party room, tool shed, garden, orchard, workshop or parking areas.
(4). The site is designed with a coherent concept in mind, including: shared functional open space, off-street parking, access within the site and from the site, and consistent landscaping.

20A.20.190 "S" Definitions

Size-limited dwelling.

A size-limited dwelling is a single-family detached unit that does not exceed 1,900 square feet. The determination of total square footage includes attached garages. A size limited dwelling will be so identified and legally binding on the title of the home; enlarging the home will not be permitted above the maximum size limit.