Cottage Housing

The City Council recently adopted Innovative (Cottage) Housing Demonstration Ordinance No. 558 (PDF), which establishes an "innovative housing" demonstration program that will regulate cottage housing in the City's R1 and R2 districts. This ordinance governs the development of up to three pilot projects totaling no more than 24 units per project for a limited period of time. Once built, these projects will allow City officials, neighborhood residents, and others to evaluate the fit of cottage housing in this community. Additional cottage housing projects will be permitted if this type of housing is found to be a positive addition to the community.

About Cottage Housing

Cottage housing is characterized by small, detached single-family homes (less than 1,500 square feet) with garages and parking typically located away from the homes. Interaction with neighbors is fostered through pedestrian-oriented design, large front porches, common open space and shared community buildings. The smaller home sizes attract those who want to own a detached home, but don't necessarily want all the space that comes with a larger home in a typical subdivision. 

Cottage housing offers a home ownership option that responds to Washington's changing demographics and preferences of smaller families, young professionals, singles, and empty nesters.

Competitive Selection Process for Demonstration Projects

The City's intent is to restrict the development of cottage housing projects to those that are exemplary in design. To this end, the City wishes to encourage broad participation in a competitive demonstration project selection process.

Application Deadline

Applications will be accepted through November 2, 2012. 


  • All applicants must attend a pre-application conference prior to submitting. 
  • Within 30 days of application submittal, the applicant shall hold a neighborhood meeting to gather input regarding preliminary project design from neighboring property owners and residents. 
  • Within 30 days of the neighborhood meeting, the applicant shall provide the City with a narrative summarizing and addressing comments received at the meeting. The applicant may revise the proposal based on neighborhood input.

Committee Evaluation

Following the November 2, 2012 submittal deadline, the Innovative Housing Committee will evaluate all applications concurrently. This committee will consist of City staff, members of the Planning Commission, and two citizens at large who reside in University Place. Applications will be evaluated based on the selection criteria established in Ordinance No. 558. Up to three projects may be selected by the Committee. An applicant whose project is selected will then be authorized to submit a formal application (administrative design review, preliminary plat and/or other, depending on the type of project) for approval.

More Information

Visit our Applications and Forms page for checklists and applications specific to your project. For questions, email Kevin Briske, Community and Economic Development Department Director, or call 253.460.5405.