Missing Middle Housing

Missing Middle Work Group

The next Missing Middle Work Group meeting is October 26, 2017 from 4:30 - 6:00 p.m. at Olympia City Hall.

What is Missing Middle Housing?

Duplex in OlympiaMissing Middle Housing refers to a range of housing types that can provide more than one housing unit per lot in a way that is compatible in scale with single-family homes.

Examples may include duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, accessory dwelling units, tiny homes, courtyard apartments, townhomes, row houses, and cottage housing.

Missing Middle Housing is a key component of the City's housing strategy, as it supports housing affordability for households across all income levels.

Missing Middle Housing Project

Olympia's Comprehensive Plan sets a goal that affordable housing is available for all income levels throughout the community. It includes several policies to meet that goal. One of the most important is providing a variety of housing types.

  • PL16.2 Adopt zoning that allows a wide variety of compatible housing types and densities.
  • PL16.5 Support affordable housing throughout the community by minimizing regulatory review risks, time and costs and removing unnecessary barriers to housing, by permitting small dwelling units accessory to single-family housing, and by allowing a mix of housing types.
  • PL16.9 In all residential areas, allow small cottages and townhouses, and one accessory housing unit per home -- all subject to siting, design and parking requirements that ensure neighborhood character is maintained.
  • PL16.10 Require effective, but not unreasonably expensive, building designs and landscaping to blend multi-family housing into neighborhoods.
  • PS3.1 Promote a variety of residential densities and housing types so that housing can be available in a broad range of costs.

The Missing Middle Project will carry out these goals and policies. During this project, we will look at:

  • How much missing middle housing currently exists in Olympia
  • How much more will be needed to accommodate future population growth affordably
  • Olympia’s regulations and fees and how they may be impacting property owners’ decisions on whether to build missing middle housing
  • How additional missing middle housing can be added in a way that is compatible with existing neighborhoods
  • Missing Middle Fact Sheet

Project Timeline

The Missing Middle Project is scheduled to be completed in late 2017. A special work group is providing expertise to help guide the process through the following steps:

We will determine how much of each missing middle housing type is in Olympia, and where they are located

We will analyze how much opportunity there is for additional missing middle housing, and what the key issues are that may be creating impediments.

We will review what kind of impact the city’s requirements have on potential additional missing middle housing.

Public outreach will occur throughout the process, but there will be extra opportunities during this time period to get public feedback on potential changes to codes, fees and standards.     

Missing Middle Work Group Notes

We will draft the actual text changes to city codes to carry out the recommendations emerging from this project.

This is the formal process for adoption of changes to city codes. It will include review by the Olympia Planning Commission, at least one public hearing, and final action by the Olympia City Council.


Contact Leonard Bauer at 360.753.8206 or missingmiddle@ci.olympia.wa.us.