Spokane’s Missing ‘Missing Middle Housing’

City records show that Spokane has issued few permits for duplexes, triplexes, and other forms of mid-density housing.

1 minute read

September 13, 2022, 10:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Aerial view of downtown Spokane, Washington

Brandon Mauth / Spokane, Washington

In an analysis published on the City of Spokane’s website, Kevin Freibott notes the conspicuous absence of permits for ‘missing middle housing’ in the city, a housing type which many advocates say could ease the nation’s housing crisis by gently increasing density in residential neighborhoods and providing more opportunities for renters and homeowners.

According to Freibott, “Duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes and townhomes were popular in the first half of the twentieth century but have since become harder to develop, largely due to changes in regulations and policies around housing.” Freibott continues, “Data going back to 2008 shows the City has permitted very few of these housing types in comparison to single-family homes and apartment buildings.”

To promote more construction of missing middle housing, Spokane has developed Shaping Spokane Housing, a toolkit that “seeks to build opportunities and choices in our future land use and zoning decisions.” 

“The lack of missing middle housing production illustrates where new or updated policy may increase our capacity for housing and result in some new housing that caters to the diverse needs across our community.”

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