Spokane City planners propose plan to increase affordable housing

City plans to change housing code (11-3-17)

SPOKANE, Wash.-- The City of Spokane is projected to gain 20,000 people over the next 20 years. That lead city planners to search for ways to accommodate all those people.

That includes proposed changes to the housing code to allow developers to build more homes that are affordable.

Thursday night city planners held an open house to discuss the proposed changes.

"The objective is to achieve high quality housing in residential areas that provides more options and is well designed,” said Assistant City Planner Nathan Gwinn. "There's an additional supply of housing that's needed and we have some capacity in terms of vacant land."

The concept is called "infill development" which means building on vacant lots and parcels within an already built up area.

Cottage Housing and pocket residential are tools that can be used to support infill development. The proposal focused on vacant land near the central corridor of the city.  

In the first round of code amendments a change will be made to all pocket residential development in residential single-family zones.

That allows homes to be built facing walkways or private driveways rather than a street. This would make it easier to fit more homes in an area, however the proposal does not raise the number of homes allowed to be built in a certain area. It would just allow homes to be built in areas to reach that number already designated in the housing code. 

Another development tool the city would update is cottage housing. Cottage housing can be described as a cluster of homes connected with a common outdoor space. Cottage housing will be updated to allow larger units and the ability to attach two units in a single structure.

The city says infill development will close the gap between people and where they have to go. It should make it easier to bike, walk and use public transportation. Also, planners say it would stimulate activity in areas that were previously vacant.   

© 2017 KREM-TV


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