The current city of Olympia “Missing Middle” exercise contains a bewildering array of recommendations, 43 in all, dealing with 10 different types of housing. Some recommendations are technical and relatively benign. Others could have serious consequences.
One such consequence involves allowing dense housing types like triplexes, fourplexes, and courtyard apartment houses in neighborhoods now limited to single-family structures. This change will encourage developers to purchase and tear down “starter homes” on large lots and replace them with triplexes, fourplexes, and courtyard apartment buildings. The result would be a loss of “starter” homes that allow people to build equity. Those would be replaced by expensive rental units, a form of gentrification.
Do we want to take a chance on this proposal with its risk of harm to first-time homeowners, or should we play it safe and reject it?