Seattle residents turn out to debate 'apodments'

SEATTLE -- Dozens of people packed into the council chambers at Seattle City Hall on Monday night to speak about proposed micro-housing regulations.

The units, which are often referred to as "apodments," are about the size of a single bedroom and are growing in popularity across the city. A couple thousand of the units have already gone up or are under construction in Seattle.

Supporters believe the units fulfill a housing need at a fraction of the cost for condos or apartments. But opponents believe more regulations are needed to address growing issues with the units.

"I'm just waiting to see what the impact will be on the neighborhood," said Joe Walton, who lives across the street from a micro-housing development under construction in Ballard. "I don't think it'll be good."

Members of the city's Planning, Land Use and Sustainability Committee held Monday's meeting to get input about proposed regulations that will impact future projects. The regulations would address issues like parking, size, and location.

Jordan Small moved into a micro-housing unit about a year ago.

"I don't have to pay all these extra fees," Small said. "So, I'm able to afford to go to school and work full time. That's pretty much impossible anywhere else because rent is $1,000, easily, anywhere else."

Walton is convinced adding dozens of people to his already busy street will drive many of his long-time neighbors elsewhere.

"We'll stick it out as long as we can. We love Ballard, you know?" Walton said.

The Planning, Land Use and Sustainability Committee will meet again on Tuesday, June 3, to talk about the proposed regulations. A vote on the legislation could happen as early as June 17, city leaders said.