As a homeowner, builder, parent and longtime resident of Olympia, I am supporting the proposed changes being put forth by the Missing Middle initiative. Olympia is growing and growing rapidly. It is growing whether we want it to or not. The Missing Middle proposal is simply sensible planning for that growth. The initiative is modest and moderate, but it will allow the growth to happen in a way that preserves the integrity and character of our neighborhoods.
I have heard concerns that the Missing Middle will allow a lot of new people to move to the neighborhoods without addressing affordability. Affordable housing is a dire need in Olympia, but I’m not sure how that could be specifically incorporated into the Missing Middle.
In general, more housing will alleviate the strain on the extremely competitive market. But the Missing Middle does address affordability in other ways. By allowing for more accessory dwelling units and multiplex units, we will be building diverse housing types that will cost less than a larger house. We will also be creating more options for people to live near their place of employment, which will reduce their transportation costs.
I’ve also seen people express concern about the process. I learned about the Missing Middle when I attended an open house in November. I have since followed the process and it has been transparent and inclusive. City staff have presented at numerous open houses and neighborhood association meetings.
I look forward to more housing options in Olympia.