Letters to the Editor

Missing middle housing is good for Olympia

Removing barriers to “Missing Middle” housing is good for neighborhoods and Olympia. Backyard cottages, above-garage and courtyard apartments, duplexes and townhomes make our neighborhoods more diverse and dynamic. They restore patterns of building common in neighborhoods developed prior to World War II.

Early development patterns didn’t favor the automobile. They favored people: neighbors, pedestrians, kids playing outdoors, bicyclists, and trolley riders. Places were designed for humans rather than cars. The proposed zoning code changes bring us back in that direction.

Missing Middle housing also provides variety, which can accommodate people in all phases of life and economic circumstances. Seniors who no longer wish to care for a yard and larger home, but want to remain in a neighborhood where they have built community, could live in a four-plex or townhouse. College students may wish to rent a backyard cottage or an apartment above a garage. Young families who can’t afford a single-family home might be able to purchase a duplex with the supplement of rental income.

After more than a year of public process, and many years of prior community conversations through the comprehensive planning process, the Missing Middle is strongly supported by a diverse coalition. These supporters include younger people and elders, homeowners and renters, environmentalists and builders, affordable housing advocates and Realtors. Although we don’t agree on many issues, we all want to see diverse housing options in Olympia. Please join us in saying “yes” to the Missing Middle.