6 Zoning Keys for Effective Missing Middle Housing

The inventor of the term missing middle housing has advice on writing zoning codes that effectively deliver on the potential of the tool.

1 minute read

March 23, 2020, 11:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Accessory Dwelling Unit

Sightline Institute: Missing Middle Homes Photo Library Follow / Flickr

According to a February article by Dan Parolek, recent legislative efforts to legalize missing middle housing (e.g., the Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan and Oregon’s HB 2001) illustrate how “Missing Middle Housing can go a long way toward meeting housing needs in a variety of places.”

Parolek, credited with coining the term missing middle housing, writes here to offer a few tips to ensure that zoning changes designed to make new space fo missing middle housing will achieve the desired goals of increasing the number of housing units, addressing the high cost of housing, and not letting that new density also mean huge new buildings.

Parolek lists six tips in total, listed here, but also with a lot more detail in the source article.

  1. Regulate maximum building envelope/form & scale rather than number of units/density
  2. Carefully regulate building width and depth
  3. Be careful about allowed height
  4. Do not allow townhouses or single-family detached homes in which the ground floor is mostly parking
  5. Some single-family contexts are better than others for Missing Middle Housing 
  6. Communication and framing tips

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