Chapter 20.21


20.21.000    Purpose.

20.21.010    Accessory dwelling units prohibited.

20.21.020    Density limitation – Limitation on total occupancy.

20.21.025    Application and filing fee.

20.21.030    Criteria for attached accessory dwelling units.

20.21.040    Nontransferability.

20.21.050    Preexisting accessory dwelling units.

20.21.060    Permit conditions.

20.21.000 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to regulate the establishment of accessory dwelling units within or in conjunction with single-family dwellings while preserving the character of single-family neighborhoods. The primary purpose of this chapter shall be to permit establishment of additional living quarters within single-family residential neighborhoods in order to (1) make it possible for adult children to provide care and support to a parent or other relatives in need of assistance, or (2) provide increased security and companionship for homeowners, or (3) provide the opportunity for homeowners to gain the extra income necessary to help meet the rising costs of home ownership, or (4) to provide for the care of disabled persons within their own homes. [Ord. 3294 § 1, 2000].

20.21.010 Accessory dwelling units prohibited.

No accessory dwelling unit shall be permitted within any planned residential development or any individual lot within such a development. [Ord. 3465 § 5, 2003].

20.21.020 Density limitation – Limitation on total occupancy.

Except as provided in ECDC 20.21.030(F) for the accommodation of the disabled, no subject site shall be occupied by more than one family as defined in ECDC 21.30.010. This limitation shall be interpreted to accomplish its purpose, which is to ensure that the approval of an accessory dwelling unit shall not increase the overall density of a single-family residential neighborhood. [Ord. 3294 § 1, 2000].

20.21.025 Application and filing fee.

A. Application. Any person desiring approval of an accessory dwelling unit as defined by the community development code shall submit an application containing all of the information required by ECDC Title 20 as well as the following information:

1. An affidavit, signed by the property owner before a notary public, affirming that the owner occupies either the main building or the accessory dwelling unit for more than six months of the year.

2. A covenant in a form acceptable to the city attorney and suitable for recording with the county auditor, providing notice to future owners or long-term lessors of the subject site that the existence of the accessory dwelling unit is predicated upon the occupancy of either the accessory dwelling unit or the primary dwelling by the current owner of the property, and that the current owner must have a signed affidavit on file with the city meeting the requirements of subsection (A)(1) of this section. The covenant shall also require any owner of the property to notify a prospective buyer of the limitations of this chapter and to provide for the removal of improvements added to convert the premises to an accessory dwelling unit and the restoration of the site to a single-family dwelling in the event that any condition of approval is violated.

3. If the permit lapses or the use ceases, at the request of the applicant, the city shall record at its expense notice that the covenant and permit are void and without further effect.

B. Filing Fee. All applications for an accessory dwelling unit permit shall be accompanied by the filing fee for the permit and an amount sufficient to pay the recording fee of the covenant with the Snohomish County auditor in the event the accessory dwelling unit conditional use permit should be approved. [Ord. 3294 § 1, 2000].

20.21.030 Criteria for attached accessory dwelling units.

A. Permit Required. Any person who occupies or permits another person to occupy an attached accessory dwelling unit as a place of residence shall first obtain a permit. The permit shall be reviewed and processed as a Type II decision (Staff decision – Notice required).

B. Number of Units. A single-family dwelling may have no more than one accessory dwelling unit per lot.

C. Size. In no case shall an accessory dwelling unit be (1) larger than 40 percent of the livable floor area of the principal dwelling, (2) nor more than 800 square feet, (3) nor have more than two bedrooms; provided, if the accessory dwelling unit is completely located on a single floor, the planning manager may allow increased size up to 50 percent of the floor area of the principal dwelling in order to efficiently use all floor area, so long as all other standards set forth in this chapter are met.

D. Location and Appearance. The single-family appearance and character of the residence shall be maintained when viewed from the surrounding neighborhood. The design of the accessory dwelling unit shall be incorporated into the design of the principal dwelling unit and shall be designed to maintain the architectural design, style, appearance and character of the main building as a single-family residence using matching materials, colors, window style, and roof design. The primary entrance to the accessory dwelling unit shall be located in such a manner as to be unobtrusive when viewed from the street. Whenever possible, new entrances should be placed at the side or rear of the building. Only one electric and one water meter shall be allowed for the entire building, serving both the primary residence and the accessory dwelling unit. Accessory dwelling units must be located within or attached to single-family dwelling units.

E. Parking. One off-street parking space in addition to the parking spaces normally required for the principal dwelling shall be required to be provided for the accessory dwelling unit, but in no event less than three spaces per lot.

F. Occupancy. Either the primary dwelling or the accessory dwelling unit shall be owner-occupied. “Owner-occupied” shall mean a property owner who makes his or her legal residence at the site, as evidenced by voter registration, vehicle registration, or similar means, and actually resides at the site more than six months out of any given year, and at no time receives rent for the owner-occupied unit. The owner(s) shall not rent the designated owner-occupied unit at any time during the pendency of the ADU permit; any such rental shall void the permit. The owner(s) shall not rent any portion of the owner-occupied residence either during the owner(s)’ occupancy or while the owner is absent from the owner-occupied unit for any period. In no event shall the total number of occupants exceed one family as defined in this code; provided, however, that if the accessory dwelling unit is occupied by a nurse or other caregiver assisting a disabled person who is an occupant of the principal residence, or the principal residence is occupied by a nurse/caregiver and the accessory dwelling unit is occupied by a disabled person under the nurse’s care, the occupancy limit of one family may be increased by one additional unrelated person to a total of one family related by genetics, adoption or marriage plus one unrelated person, or a total of six unrelated persons. In no event shall the total number of occupants exceed one family as defined in this code.

G. Safety, Light, Ventilation, Floor Area and Similar Factors. Accessory dwelling units shall comply with all applicable requirements of the Uniform Housing Code and the Uniform Building Code adopted by ECDC Title 19 and shall comply in all respects with the provisions of the Edmonds Community Development Code. No permit for an accessory dwelling unit shall be issued to a nonconforming structure unless that structure is brought into conformance with the then current provisions of this code. [Ord. 3736 § 53, 2009; Ord. 3294 § 1, 2000].

20.21.040 Nontransferability.

A permit for an accessory dwelling unit shall not be transferable to any site other than the subject site described in the application. [Ord. 3294 § 1, 2000].

20.21.050 Preexisting accessory dwelling units.

That portion of a single-family residence which meets the definition of accessory dwelling unit which was in existence prior to February 1, 2000, may continue in existence provided the following requirements are met:

A. An application for an accessory dwelling unit which meets the appropriate criteria contained in ECDC 20.21.030 is submitted within one year of February 1, 2000. The planning manager may waive the size limitations contained in ECDC 20.21.030 if he or she finds that the reduction of floor area required to bring the preexisting unit into compliance is impractical to achieve.

B. The unit complies with the minimum requirements of the Uniform Housing Code. [Ord. 3294 § 1, 2000].

20.21.060 Permit conditions.

In addition to any conditions imposed during the permit approval process, permits for accessory dwelling units shall state and are expressly subject to the condition that such a permit shall expire automatically whenever:

A. The accessory dwelling unit is substantially altered and is thus no longer in conformance with the plans and drawings reviewed and approved by the permitting authority and building official.

B. The subject site ceases to maintain the required number of parking spaces.

C. The property owner ceases to reside in either the primary residence or the accessory dwelling unit, the owner-occupied unit is rented, or the current owner fails to file the affidavit required under ECDC 20.21.025(A) (1). [Ord. 3294 § 1, 2000].