Proposed plan would speed up housing construction in Spokane

SPOKANE, Wash. – A new proposed pilot program is aimed at modifying residential zoning in an attempt to accelerate more housing in Spokane. 

Mayor Nadine Woodward, City Council President Breean Beggs and Councilman Michael Cathcart announced the proposed “Building Opportunity and Choices for All” program Thursday. 

They believe it will allow for more housing options to be built within the next year. 

The program would allow the following: 

  • Duplexes and townhouses in all residential neighborhoods
  • Triplexes and fourplexes in targeted areas near transit lines and busier commercial areas
  • This program will continue to require development to fit the context of neighborhoods by matching the scale of its surroundings
  • Includes basic design standards that will be familiar for developers who have done work in the city before 

“We need more housing and greater variety now,” Woodward said. “Business as usual isn’t currently equipped to deliver new construction quickly enough to immediately increase inventory.”

“I strongly support this pilot project, because like the block I live on, it allows more affordable low-intensity housing options on a smaller footprint while preserving the same feel of the older homes in my neighborhood,” Council President Breean Beggs said. 

“Spokane’s working families deserve the opportunity to attain a home in the neighborhood of their choice at a price they can afford,” Councilmember Michael Cathcart said. “Unfortunately, our dwindling supply and increased demand has left most of them priced out of homeownership and with very little choice in the rental market. Through this small, but mighty change, we can cultivate more home ownership opportunities and more choices that reflect our community’s many diverse lifestyles and affordability levels. The best way to gain wealth and to break the cycle of poverty is by building equity through homeownership.”

The proposed pilot program will be briefed at the Public, Infrastructure and Environmental Sustainability Committee meeting with the City Council on Monday. The first and final readings will follow in July. 

The City will then engage with Neighborhood Councils, housing advocates, other stakeholders and the general public over the course of a few months for feedback. This will be followed by a public hearing in September. 

The City anticipates making a permanent change to the comprehensive plan and development code based on what is learned from the pilot. 

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