scenic picture from Washington state
SubjectsPlanning › Cottage Housing
Updated 07/2013

Cottage Housing

Contents

What is Cottage Housing?

Cottage Housing is generally defined as a grouping of small, single family dwelling units clustered around a common area and developed with a coherent plan for the entire site. They have gained popularity in recent years as a type of infill development on small sites, within existing developed areas.

The cottage units may have other shared amenities. The shared common area and coordinated design may allow densities that are somewhat higher than typical in single family neighborhoods while minimizing impacts on adjacent residential areas. As a result, cottage housing can offer its owners a quality living experience that is less expensive than traditional single family housing.

It also offers a degree of privacy and some of the benefits of single family housing combined with the lower cost and maintenance of attached housing. The clustered arrangement can contribute to a sense of community. Even so, its departure from existing patterns and its higher density have encountered resistance in some communities.

Articles

Codes

  • Kirkland Zoning Code Ch. 113 - Cottage, Carriage, and Two/Three Unit Homes, and HUD Best Practices: Kirkland, Washington Cottage Housing Ordinance 
  • Langley Municipal Code Ch. 18.22.180 - Cottage Housing
  • Marysville Municipal Code Sec. 22C.010.280 - Cottage housing developments  
  • Port Townsend Municipal Code Ch. 17.34 - Cottage Housing Development Design Standards
  • Redmond Zoning Code Sec. 21.08.290 - Cottage Housing Developments.
  • Seattle Municipal Code Sec. 23.43.012 - Cottage Housing Developments (CHDs)
  • Shoreline Ordinance Nos. 321, 362, 371, 408, and 362 (Adobe Acrobat Document) - Provides for (then repeals) amendments to the development code related to cottage housing bonus densities between March 2003 and February 2006. It was decided that the standards intended to require integration of new cottage housing in residential development would not create a high quality development necessary to compliment Shoreline's lowest density residential neighborhoods. Retained as an example of cottage housing provisions
  • Federal Way Municipal Code Ch. 19.250 - Cottage and compact single family housing, Sec. 19.205.030 - Detached dwelling units, and Cottage Housing Development, Bulletin No. 061, 01/2011 - Cottage Housing allowed under housing demonstration program
  • Mukilteo Municipal Code Sec. 17.51.056

Related MRSC Resources
MRSC Index – Cottage Housing

Need more information?

Feel free to Ask MRSC. Washington cities, counties, and our contract partners can call or email MRSC for more information and advice - free of charge.