Mother-in-laws get more room

Council approves building code amendments

By J. Jacob Edel
Mercer Island Reporter

In its approval of several proposed development code amendments, the City Council doubled the permitted size of accessory dwelling units for Island homes last Monday.

Lots with smaller primary homes will now be able to add another unit nearly the same size as the amendment allows additional homes built on Island properties to be as large as 80 percent of the primary dwelling. The former code allowed the addition to be only 40 percent of the main home.

The current minimum and maximum size restrictions remain intact, however. Mother -in-law units must still be at least 220 square feet and no more than 900.

City code allows secondary units on single-family property if the additional structure is occupied by an owner or an immediate family member. Accessory units may be added to, included inside or located on the property as a separate, detached unit from the primary residence.

During the public hearing, resident Ira Appleman suggested that the new code would effectively allow duplexes in single-family neighborhoods.

Development code amendments may be requested by Island residents annually. An application and fee are required. Proposed amendments are then published by the city, and public comments may be submitted or made while the Planning Commission and Council review the requested amendments.

The Council also amended the ordinance that regulates roof top appurtenances outside the Town Center to be the same as those downtown.

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