A unique development of nine cottage homes and a second-story “Carriage House” apartment are expected to open June 1, bringing a new dimension to housing options available in Mountlake Terrace.
But some city officials were caught by surprise when the development’s owners announced that the cottages would be rentals and not made available for purchase.
The Cedar Cottages, 24226 52nd Avenue West, are made up of nine homes three-bedroom homes ranging in size from 1,000 to 1,700 square feet; a tenth unit with 1,000 square feet, three bedrooms and two baths, is located on the second floor of a garage building on the site.
One lease has already been signed by new renters with four more ready to be finalized, said Cedar Cottages representative Laura Schmidt.
The units have a rental price of $1,600-$2,275 per month.
The development was discussed briefly at the May 11 City of Mountlake Terrace Planning Commission meeting when Planning Commissioner Nick Bautista said he saw the cottages being advertised as rentals. “When I saw that my heart sunk a little bit,” Bautista said.
“I know through the whole process of us developing that cottage housing code that it would be an idea for an affordable housing option for people who wanted to buy but not necessarily want a full house,” Bautista said.
“We were surprised,” added City Senior Planner Edith Duttlinger.
Steve Osguthorpe, the city’s Community and Economic Development Director, acknowledged that multiple housing units on a single land parcel could be subdivided into separate lots, but that did not happen with the Cedar Cottages development.
“If we don’t like that outcome, then the solution would be in the code to not allow them multiple units on one lot – that they would have to be subdivided. That would be a relatively simple fix,” Osguthorpe told the planning commissioners.
“That’s really a shame,” said Commission Chair Alice Kier of the development’s cottages being offered as rentals and not for purchase. “That’s a really good example of why we need to go through and tighten up the (code) language.”
City officials also expressed disappointment with the Cedar Cottages final landscaping, calling in “minimal.”
As a result of that project, city officials have identified a number of things that they will re-examine in city planning codes, Duttlinger said.
The Cedar Cottages development takes the place of a single-family home that was on the site of the 36,155 square-foot lot prior to the start of the cottages’ construction in January 2014. The development is owned by Cedar Cottages LLC of Kailua, Hawaii and was built by Wayne Sharp Construction of Everett.
– By Doug Petrowski