Washington Could Legalize Multifamily Housing

A bill legalizing duplexes and fourplexes in most of the state’s residential neighborhoods passed the state House on Monday.

2 minute read

March 8, 2023, 12:00 PM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Aerial view of Bellevue, Washington waterfront homes

Danita Delimont / Bellevue, Washington

Multi-family housing units such as duplexes and fourplexes could be permitted in most neighborhoods in Washington state, reports David Gutman in The Settle Times. The state legislature overwhelmingly passed HB 1110 as part of an effort to increase the housing supply and ease the affordability crisis.

As Gutman points out, “The bill, which still must pass the state Senate, would not mean the end of single-family home construction in Washington, but it could, eventually, mean the end of many neighborhoods made up exclusively of single-family homes.”

Under the legislation, cities with populations between 25,000 and 75,000 would be required to permit duplexes in residential areas, while cities larger than 75,000 would have to permit fourplexes.

The Washington bill joins other efforts to shift control of zoning to the state level as the housing crisis deepens around the country. While supporters of local zoning say state laws are too broad to effectively regulate development, housing advocates say too many local zoning codes hinder the construction of new housing by maintaining single-family zoning requirements, driving up housing costs and contributing to a growing affordability and homelessness crisis. 

More coverage of state zoning reform:

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