The case for and against Olympia’s ‘missing middle’ housing changes
The Olympia City Council is set Monday to take up the final draft of the “missing middle” building regulations designed to promote infill housing.
The changes would allow for more housing types to be built in the city’s low-density residential neighborhoods. “Missing middle” refers to housing types on the spectrum between single-family homes and large apartment buildings.
Last month, the City Council gave initial approval to most of the plan, but asked for some changes.
The original plan would have allowed courtyard apartments, triplexes and fourplexes in low-density zoning districts within 300 feet of a transit line or commercial district. Council members said bus lines should be developed around housing, not the other way around, and that some lines run so infrequently they don’t warrant special status.
The new proposal changes the reach to within 600 feet — or about two blocks — of commercial zoning centers and certain arterial roads.
Members also asked for more information on the availability of on-street parking. The original plan required some units to provide more off-street parking where on-street parking is “not available.”
The final draft clarifies that available on-street parking means one paved spot per 20 feet outside of travel lanes and driveways along the street frontage of the lot.
A summary of the final changes is online at olympiawa.gov/missingmiddle. Monday’s council meeting starts at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 601 Fourth Ave. E.