In the 1990s, Snohomish County builders started to construct what have been labeled “air space” condos. Builders are opting to build air space condos just outside the city limits. Why? Because the County zoning are different that the cities. The County allows for more density than the city which has gained acclaim from builders and harsh opinions from residents. The two sides of the argument: good for urban density and poor integration of current neighborhoods.
What is an air space condo?
Air space condos are Low Density Multiple Residential (LDMRs). Air space condos look and feel like a detached single family home but have been created under the condominium act and governed by a homeowners association. The term “air space” refers to what the owner actually owns, the air between the walls. Hawkstone, in Smokey Point, is an example of air space condo community.
Why air space condos?
One of the primary reasons builders are choosing air space condos over traditional single family homes is density. According to County zoning laws (most air space condos are built just outside city limits), builders can get more units per acre, 12 units per acre.
Price is another reason for air space condos. Since 2002 single family home prices have climbed to unaffordable level and builders see air space condos as way to bring affordable living to the public. Residents who want a single family but can’t afford them can still get into what feels like a single family home.
What are your thoughts?
I would be interested to hear from people who live in, oppose, support and/or just how people generally feel about air space condo communities. Chime in; it’s quite in here.