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Micro-apartments are poised to become legal in Washington state

caption: Angela Rozmyn stands outside the Arete micro-apartments in Kirkland, Washington.
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Angela Rozmyn stands outside the Arete micro-apartments in Kirkland, Washington.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

A bill that would allow “micro-apartments” anywhere normal apartments are built has passed both chambers of the Washington Legislature.

Angela Rozmyn works for a developer that builds micro-apartments in Redmond and Kirkland, where they’re already legal. She says they’re basically an efficiency studio with a shared kitchen.

“It is someone’s private space, with their own bathroom, microwave, fridge, basic living quarters but without a full kitchen, and they rent generally for 55-70% the cost of a studio in the same area,” Rozmyn said.

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Rozmyn's area of expertise is sustainable development. She says giving people relatively affordable places to live in popular neighborhoods is more sustainable than making people drive long distances from urban centers to find something affordable.

One concern raised by cities and counties was about the low number of parking stalls included in this kind of apartment building.

The bill passed both legislative chambers by wide margins — 96 to 0 in the House, 44 to 4 in the Senate.

The bill took on a few changes in the Senate, and now the House and Senate versions must be reconciled before it goes to the governor's desk.

But according to Dan Bertolet of the Sightline Institute, reconciliation "will be a formality in this case because the only amendment the Senate made was very minor."

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