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Middle Housing: A Viable Solution to Keeping Up with Housing Demands

The cold hard fact: Spokane’s population has boomed, but we haven’t kept up with housing production.


Between 2010 and 2022, the number of households in our housing market area grew by 35,000, or 14%, according to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. But, the number of housing units built during the same time period only increased by .60%. Spokane is falling behind.


With a rapidly growing population and limited available land, a key strategy is to increase infill and density. In other words, we need a serious infusion of “middle housing.”


“Middle housing” housing are options such as duplexes, triplexes, townhouses, and accessory dwelling units (ADUs).



By allowing the construction of middle housing options in established neighborhoods, Spokane can significantly increase housing supply.


These smaller, diverse housing types not only provide more options for potential homeowners and renters, but also promote affordability, foster more inclusive communities, and can accommodate various family sizes and income levels.


Currently, Only 2.1% of Spokane’s owned housing is considered middle housing. That’s less than the average for the state of Washington (5.5%) and the U.S. (7.3%).


This is why Building for the Future is advocating for a long-term version of Spokane’s Building Opportunity and Choices for All interim ordinance. BOCA is a pilot zoning program approved through July 18, 2023, that modifies residential zoning to accelerate construction of more housing options in neighborhoods. Under this interim zoning, construction of middle housing options such as duplexes, triplexes and townhomes are allowed citywide, as well as, offers incentives for mixed use residential construction.


To keep up with housing demands, it is crucial for Spokane to embrace policies that encourage and facilitate the development of middle housing. By promoting zoning reforms, providing incentives, and streamlining the approval process, Spokane can unlock the potential of middle housing to meet the diverse needs of our residents while ensuring sustainable and inclusive growth.


Tell City Council that you are in favor of creating permanent code changes that make housing choice more of a reality for Spokane's residents by emailing developmentcode@spokanecity.org.



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