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July 2018

Architect, ADU advocate outlines ways to boost stock of affordable housing

Affordable Housing presentation slides"In order to provide more housing we need to create more affordable units," said Rex Allen, principal at Shearwater Services Inc. in his opening remarks during a presentation at Seattle King County REALTORS®.

Allen, an architect who has provided project management services for numerous single and multi-family developments, gave an overview of construction costs for both attached and detached ADUs (Accessory Dwelling Units).

In one illustration for a 750 square foot ADU, he showed how various soft costs totaling nearly $68,000 would drive up the rental price beyond the limits under Seattle's Office of Housing's Affordable Housing program.

Speaking to members of SKCR's Governmental and Public Affairs Committee, and drawing on his two decades of work in producing more than 2,500 multi-family units, Allen outlined nearly a dozen recommendations for revising Seattle's ADU restrictions. Those recommendations included eliminating parking requirements, removing limits on lot size, streamlining permitting, dedicating specialized reviewers for ADU/DADU projects, and removing the Mandatory Housing Affordability requirement on these projects.

Allen also provided an overview of Recover Housing, a nonprofit initiative he launched to "aggregate funding to remove the profit barriers of standard housing development, empowering local communities to create housing that works for everyone."