Saturday, October 31, 2009

Hey Federal Way, Let's Tell Google We Exist

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So if you go to Google Maps ( and you navigate to Federal Way and then right-click.

 (If you're on Firefox, you'll get this menu... press escape without clicking anything.)

You'll see this menu.  A handy way to quickly do common tasks in Google Maps.  A recently new one is "What's here?"  Allows you to find out what's in the area you're looking at.  Only it's broken...

 That's right... use this feature in Federal Way and it comes back with Auburn.  In the olden days, if you tried to complain, they'd say "Oh, it's the map data we bought that's messed up.  Sorry."  (Zillow said that at first but has since fixed theirs.)

Well, Google's ready to ask the world to help it get better map data.  Yes, that's right, if you're logged in, that same right-click menu will also give you the option to "Report a Problem."

So, as citizens of Federal Way, it's our duty to help Google get it right.  There's a new share button at the top of this post that will help you pass this along to friends, neighbors and co-workers.  Let's be heard, Federal Way. (Feel free to post in the comments once you've made a report to Google.)

Pass it on

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Those visiting the website will notice a new "share" button up by the post's title which will make it easier for you to pass along anything interesting to your friends with Facebook, Twitter, email, etc.  Perfect for the "Hey Federal Way, Let's Tell Google We Exist" post that I'll be making shortly.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Monday, October 19, 2009

Cozy Little Cottage

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Both Federal Way and our neighbors to the north in Seattle have been talking about "cottage home" this year.

What is a cottage home?

Cottage homes are single-family residences that are smaller than the typical home, characterized by their open floor plan, centrally located spaces, creative design and a size of 1,100 to 1,300 square feet. (Federal Way Mirror)

In Federal Way, cottage home are also known for surrounding a central common space. In Seattle, the discussion has been around allowing a "second dwelling unit" on a single parcel of land occupied by a single family home. Both seek to address density concerns, though Seattle's plan may more likely offer affordability than Federal Way's, which represents more elaborate and controlled zoning/design requirements.

Federal Way

Cottage homes address growth management goals in Federal Way
Oct. 3 -- Federal Way is looking for an architect to design its third cottage home demonstration project. The demonstration projects were approved by the Federal Way City Council in 2006 as a way for the city to meet density requirements. An architect and developer had previously been selected for the third cottage housing site, but the deal fell through due to the economy, said Matt Herrera, the city's associate planner. While the first two projects move forward, the third one will start over. (Federal Way Mirror)

Competitive Selection Process for Demonstration Projects
The City Council has recently adopted a cottage housing ordinance, which will allow three demonstration housing projects to be built within the city. Two of the three projects have been chosen and are currently in the permitting process. The city is accepting proposals for the third and final demostration project. Due Nov. 30. (City of Federal Way)

Cottage Housing Project at 18th. and PH.S.
June 13 - "Notice of Land Use" Application (PDF) (City of Federal Way)


A big week for the cottage cult
Sept. 21 -- Backyard cottage housing is a benefit, not a threat, to single family neighborhoods, and in keeping with the values that shaped Seattle. Let's have more. (Crosscut)

A Voice of Reason that Needs to Be Louder
Sept. 14 -- The Seattle Planning Commission recently sent two letters to the City Council that demonstrate its potential to provide a voice of reason in debates over planning policy. The first letter recommends passing the cottage housing ordinance, with the important caveat that the 50 unit per year limit be removed, as was discussed in this HAC post. The second letter recommends several constructive tweaks to the proposed multifamily code update, such as reductions in parking requirements and the banning of low-density townhouse development in mid-rise zones. (Huge Ass City)

Cottage Amnesty
July 14 -- I know of at least one "garage" that was built really as a residence with an obligatory garage door to satisfy the code officials that it wasn't a backyard cottage. I'm sure there are many more in this city of high land prices and single family houses. I'd love to see the owner be able to... (Orphan Road)

Backyard Cottages for All
March 19 -- During these tough economic times, Mayor Greg Nickels says more Seattle homeowners should have the option to build cottages in their backyards to supplement incomes or provide a loved one with housing. (SeattleScape)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Commons Goes High Tech

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The Commons jumps on Twitter. And just like the "mall" itself, something's not quite right.


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