ADU 4 U? Spokane Councilwoman wants fees waived for attached units

<p><p>It’s “small scale,” but it’s something.</p></p><p><p>Spokane City Councilwoman Lori Kinnear introduced a proposal Monday that would eliminate fees for certain property owners who build an accessory dwelling unit, such as what is commonly referred to a “mother-in-law” apartment. </p></p><p><p>“Right now we’ve got skilled labor shortages, we’ve got supply shortages, so this might be something that is doable because it’s such a small scale,” Kinnear said.</p></p><p><p>The fee waiver would only apply to homeowners who live within a half-mile of one of the city’s designated “centers and corridors,” areas where it already has incentives for housing and commercial density.</p></p><p><p>The fees waived under Kinnear’s proposal would amount to an estimated $5,100 for someone looking to build an accessory dwelling unit valued between $50,000 and $100,000.</p></p><p><p>The fees would be waived under a three-year pilot program adopted under an ordinance by the City Council.</p></p><p><p>The proposal has yet to be placed on the council’s agenda for a vote. It was introduced on Monday during a meeting of the council’s Public Infrastructure and Environmental Sustainability Committee.</p></p><p><p>The proposal comes as city leaders look for solutions to the city’s ongoing housing crisis. In July, Mayor Nadine Woodward declared a housing emergency on the same day the City Council approved a Housing Action Plan.</p></p><p><p>The city receives applications for about 10 to 12 accessory dwelling units per year, Kinnear said.</p></p><p><p>“I’m hoping that we can get this going and see if we can get some movement on smaller places to live,” Kinnear said.</p></p><p><p>Councilman Michael Cathcart said he was not opposed to the concept but questioned what impact the proposal would have given the small window around centers and corridors, as well as a city law that requires the ADU owner to live on the property.</p></p><p><p>“There’s other regulations that will have to be in place for us to see an uptick,” Cathcart said.</p></p><p><p>Kinnear said the intent of the proposal was to encourage density near the city’s centers and corridors because they have the infrastructure to handle it.</p></p><p><p>“We have to be mindful of residential streets and the capacity that they have right now and not overload,” Kinnear said.</p></p>