My research began with a couple of simple questions: How is microhousing classified under the Land Use or Building Codes? Are such structures authorized under any City Code? As I pursued an answer to those questions, as with Alice in Wonderland, matters became “curiouser and curiouser.” In a nutshell, the answers are: (1) they aren’t; (2) no. Although the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) has recently created a narrative that such structures have long been authorized by City Codes, I will show in the posts that follow why that narrative lacks credibility. And I will use the DPD’s own words to do it.
The first microhousing was given a clever, trademarked name, aPodment, by Calhoun Properties’ Gary and Dirk Mulhair. Out of deference to the concerns of the Mulhairs, Seattle decided to start referring to them as microhousing or micro-housing. There appears to be no consistent usage. As you read further, you will find that inconsistency has been a hallmark of the microhousing story. During the review and permitting of microhousing projects, various justifications, descriptions and classifications have been offered by the DPD.