Housing Options

Housing Choice  
A range of housing choices are available for people in Mountlake Terrace. The City Council has provided for accessory dwellings, reduced setbacks for single-family homes, smaller lot sizes in some areas, multifamily design standards and mixed-use development. Mixed-use, commercial/retail on the ground floor with residences above, is encouraged or required in all business districts, except light industry/office park. The City Council sees such housing choices as options that suit today's busy families and changing demographics such as an aging, but active population and the needs of the millennia generation.

 Some specific regulations related to housing choices, and the quality of housing include:

  1. Allowing 4,800-7,200 square foot residential lots in certain areas of the city where otherwise a minimum 7,200 square foot lot size is required. Such lots have to meet more rigorous development and design standards.
  2. Allowing cottage home development that groups eight or more carefully designed homes around a common green space.
  3. In the area north of 216th Street SW zoned for medium-scale multifamily use (RMM), allowing development that is up to four stories in height is permitted with understructure parking (other areas zoned RMM are limited to three stories).
  4. All new residential development in single-family zones are to meet some basic design criteria such as a minimum roof pitch, projecting eaves, foundation, a minimum amount of windows or doors to face the street, and maximum driveway width at the street.
  5. New multi-residential and/or mixed-use development are to meet site and building design standards.

Accessory Dwelling Unit

An accessory dwelling unit (ADU) is a small, self-contained residential unit located on the same lot as a single-family home. The ADU may be a separate unit within a home (such as in an attic or basement), or be a detached structure (such as a converted garage, not attached to the primary home). The entry door to the ADU is separate from the main residence. The single-family home and ADU are owned by the same person and may not be sold separately. This brochure describes some of the key features of an ADU.

Cottage Housing

Cottage housing is a development method where a group of smaller detached single-family homes are built around a shared open space under a cohesive plan for the entire site. Cottages provide a good alternative for households that may prefer a single-family home to an apartment, but do not need a large unit.