The Missing Middle effort by Olympia is a small but important part of planning for our future. Our plans have promoted more and diverse types of housing since Olympia adopted its first comprehensive plan under the Growth Management Act in 1994. Meeting the full range of housing needs of our growing population is a requirement of the GMA.
Changes to our development regulations will increase the number and variety of housing throughout our city. These aren’t big changes. Given the current housing affordability crisis throughout the West Coast, it’s not surprising that efforts like this are underway in communities throughout the western states.
Analysis of the potential numbers of new housing units we might see suggest the gains will be modest. There will be more variety and some smaller units. All of this will be a plus for our community.
A small number of our neighbors are concerned about potential impacts of allowing additional types of housing in their single-family neighborhoods. They imagine being inundated by huge numbers of new homes, countless new residents and too many cars. The Thurston Regional Planning Council’s analysis and environmental assessments in cities inside and outside Washington state show that we can expect modest changes. Change for the better.
The city is required to monitor what is happening and use the results to adjust our comprehensive plan. The city can monitor the effects of any changes that result from the Missing Middle effort. It’s time to make these changes.