Tacoma Plan Would Eliminate Single-Family Zoning in Favor of 'Missing Middle' Housing

If implemented, Home in Tacoma would create new housing categories to encourage more multi-family buildings.

1 minute read

March 21, 2021, 9:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


lensfield / Shutterstock

Home in Tacoma proposes major reforms to the city's historically single-family zoning, calling for new housing categories that create more density and affordable "missing middle housing" options. Nick Bowman, writing for MyNorthwest, reports on the policy recommendations, which include "a pair of potential options would either have the city be 75% low-scale and 25% mid-scale, or 40% low-scale and 60% mid-scale."

The proposal "would eliminate the 'single family' and 'multi-family' land use designations altogether, replacing them with 'low-scale residential' and 'mid-scale residential.'" The commission stated that the two options presented both "include significant new housing options." Compiled by the Home in Tacoma Project at the direction of the Tacoma City Council, the proposal focuses on expanding multi-family housing options in a city where 90% of land is currently zoned for single-family homes.

The proposal also recommends the "expansion of regulatory affordable housing incentives and requirements" and "anti-displacement actions intended to help lower- income residents remain in growing neighborhoods."

The Planning Commission is accepting public comments and will hold a public hearing on April 7. According to the Home in Tacoma Project, "the City Council has directed staff and the Commission to provide zoning and development standards updates to implement the adopted policy direction by December of 2021."

Thursday, March 11, 2021 in MyNorthwest

View of Mount Hood at golden hour with Happy Valley, Oregon homes in foreground.

Clackamas County Votes to Allow ADUs, Residential RVs

County officials hope the zoning changes will help boost the housing supply in the region.

June 18, 2024 - Mountain Times

Single-family homes in a suburban neighborhood in Florida.

New Florida Law Curbs HOA Power

The legislation seeks to cut down on ‘absurd’ citations for low-level violations.

June 16, 2024 - The Guardian

Aerial view of intersection in New York City with yellow cabs and zebra crosswalks.

Planners’ Complicity in Excessive Traffic Deaths

Professor Wes Marshall’s provocatively-titled new book, "Killed by a Traffic Engineer," has stimulated fierce debates. Are his criticisms justified? Let’s examine the degree that traffic engineers contribute to avoidable traffic deaths.

June 13, 2024 - Todd Litman

View of Palos Verdes Drive along Pacific Ocean in Palos Verdes, California at sunset.

Erosion Threatens SoCal Road, Lloyd Wright Icon

The city of Palos Verdes is closing parts of a roadway to cyclists, citing safety concerns as the land underneath moves between 7 and 12 inches per week.

6 hours ago - Daily Breeze

Faded image of vacant storefront in rural area with American flag stars painteind on windows.

COVID Isn’t to Blame for the Retail Vacancy Crisis

A drop in demand for retail space began well before the seismic shifts of the pandemic.

June 23 - Slate

Heavy New York City traffic headed toward Holland Tunnel in Manhattan.

Judge Rules in Favor of MTA in Congestion Pricing Suit

Advocates of the program are calling on Gov. Hochul to reinstate the program in light of the decision.

June 23 - StreetsBlog NYC

City Planner I

Department of Housing and Community Development

City Planner II

Department of Housing and Community Development

City Planner Supervisor

Department of Housing and Community Development

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.