Here’s an article sent in by burbed reader nomadic, who writes, “The RBA needs backyard cottages too! I bet Worried Mom would be happy to live in a cottage in her backyard while she rents out the main house to cover college tuition for her kids.”
This is another crazy idea from Seattle, which brought us too much coffee, Windows Vista, and not enough sunshine. Why would we in the RBA (Real Bay Area) want to use them as a role model (we’re doing a great job this year on that last one)?
<< John Stoeck sweeps the 437-square-foot cottage he’s building behind his home in Seattle. The city changed zoning rules to allow cottages in single-family neighborhoods.
>> Lynn Watkins, left, and her partner, Yolinda Ward, built a 600-square-foot cottage behind their four-bedroom Craftsman-style house after deciding the "big house" was too big.
By Judy Keen, USA TODAY
SEATTLE — John Stoeck is building a one-bedroom, 437-square-foot cottage on the spot where his garage stood before a tree fell on it. Construction costs: about $50,000. When the cottage is finished this summer, he plans to rent it for at least $900 a month, which will make a nice dent in his mortgage payments.
His is just one of about 50 tiny cottages sprouting in backyards across the city as it tries to expand affordable housing options in established neighborhoods without resorting to high rises and apartment complexes. The city changed zoning rules to allow cottages in single-family neighborhoods citywide, rejected a proposed cap of 50 cottages a year and helped organize a design competition to spur creation of reasonably priced plans. The point is not just to allow the cottages, but to encourage them.
They may not making any more land, but would this work in the RBA? Would rental cottages in the back yard make RBA homes more or less Special? A rental income stream is nice, but how does a tenant a few steps from your back door work for you when you want to slip out to soak au natural in your hot tub? How can you water your own lawn when your cottage renter tore it out to put in a garden? How can you enjoy being lord of your manor when you’ve downsized to a 600 sf Craftsman cottage, and you’re renting out The Big House to an Angry Renter?
Would this solution work for Worried Mom? Could it work for you? What would your city do if you put in a permit application for one of these beauties? Renters, would you jump at the chance to live in a cottage in a SFH neighborhood instead of your current digs?
Then again, this is the RBA! Maybe we can make it even more Special! Instead of Backyard Cottages, we could have Backyard Garages, and incubate the next Web 3.0 startup! What’s even better than rental income? How about ground-floor equity? After all, it’s your ground floor!