Corn Dogs, Housing, and Innovation

corn dogs City Market

I was asked to write an opinion piece for Publicola yesterday comparing the reaction the Seattle City Council had to ride sharing programs to the reaction they are contemplating to small-lot housing. The truth is I already did that in a post not too long ago. To me, the comparison is obvious. Small-lot housing is […]

Small Lot Hearing This Friday

We’ve been hearing  about the problems with small-lot legislation being considered by the City Council. Here’s what David Neiman a local architect says about the problems created by the legislation because of it’s efforts to placate a small group of angry neighbors:  These defects are known to the planners at DPD.  They understand them and fully appreciate […]

Take My House? Please Don’t.

Downzoned Dreams

More and more single-family homeowners are beginning to feel the unintended impacts of the Department of Planning and Developments misguided efforts to satisfy angry neighbors. Here’s another example from the Facebook feed. Take my house, for example. Here’s an architect’s sketch of my house with the simplest, most cost-effective addition. Too tall for our 2,520 sf lot, […]

Downzoning Your Dreams

Thurbanist Diagram

The evidence continues to build that small-lot legislation offered by the Department of Planning and Development makes things worse for everyone involved, including owners of existing single-family homeowners. Matt Gangemi writing at The Urbanist calls the legislation Seattle’s Largest Downzone. If you live on a lot less than a 3,200 square feet in size, the maximum […]

One House, One Diagram [UPDATED]

One House

Breaking News: The black box has been found and we’ve discovered a link to the diagram. You can see it here. Evidently, sensing their overreach, the people behind One House One Lot have started to downplay the fact that the legislation they support will dramatically impact the ability of existing homeowners to add to their […]

Small Lot Legislation: An Architect’s Perspective.

The Walsh Hollon House designed by Neiman Taber Architects

As an architect who specializes in housing, I occasionally get involved in discussions with DPD and the city council about land use issues.  In general, I look at proposed legislation from this perspective:  What kind of outcomes will the new legislation encourage?  Are these good outcomes?  If I’m trying to design housing using these new rules, is the code helping or hindering? […]

DPD Tried to Regulate Small Lots;You Wouldn’t Believe What Happened Next!

Over the last part of the week I kept hearing noises on social media about problems with the Department of Planning and Development’s (DPD) efforts to constrain small-lot development. Here’s the comment that set off the biggest discussions and concerns. According to one homeowner the legislation means that about 8,755 existing homes . . . […]

Small-Lots: Don’t Stop an Innovative Housing Solution


Here are the comments I delivered to the Planning, Land Use, and Sustainability (PLUS) Committee this afternoon. The outcome we are looking for from the Council is legislation that supports more small-lot development that is predictable and scaled to housing already in neighborhoods. The 80 Percent Rule does that. Comments to PLUS Committee on April […]

Ugly Cars: “Backlash and Flight” From Driving?

Photo by author

My last post questioned the idea of adding costs to microhousing projects by running them through the design review process. The reaction was mixed on the social networks. I think some people get the idea that if I show up at your new house and demand that you paint the trim a different color, at […]

Curtailing Small-Lots, and Ride Share. What’s Next? Who Knows?

Faster, better, cheaper? We can't have that!

On Monday the Seattle City Council took steps to limit the operations of ride sharing companies in Seattle. The public’s reaction has generally been one of confusion and outright derision: why would the Council curtail an innovative idea for helping people get from point A to point B without having to use their own car? […]