Small scale development is referred to as "missing middle" housing. These are duplexes, fourplexes, bungalow courts and mansion apartments smaller than a large house. These housing types are crucial to expand affordable housing options. To reduce barriers to this type of development, we recommend changes to the development approval process. We'd like to see changes to the standards for development site layout and building placement.
We've discussed this with developers and have come up with four proposed changes to the zoning ordinance:
- Reduce the minimum dwelling unit width from 18 feet to 14 feet
- Allow developers to build two-family residential units by-right in the LDR zone district. Eligible properties should be located on a corner parcel or within 100 feet from a TBA, TOD, TCC or C zone district. The two-family lot width and area requirements should be the same as the single family units
- Remove the minimum lot area requirement for multi-family residential developments. Currently this is 20,000 square feet
- Allow developers to build multi-family residential units by-right in the LDR zone district. These developments are only eligible if the property is located within 100 feet of a TBA, TOD, TCC or C zone district. They shouldn't have more than 4 units per building. To qualify these need to comply with form, maximum building width and footprint standards
We recommend creating a Design Guidelines Manual to preserve the existing neighborhood character. These would also become City ordinances. We anticipate this will create more form-based architectural requirements.
We've discussed this with neighborhoods and heard that current standards don't protect neighborhood character. This includes lack-luster front stoops, flat facades and incompatible design. The Design Guidelines Manual will help address these concerns.
Before adopting the proposed amendments, the City should consider:
- Will this change affect the neighborhood's character?
- Will this change affect the City's image in general?
- We could lose single-family dwellings in favor of new mutli-family developments
- Single-family housing could convert to higher density residential structures
- These changes wont' directly increase the number of affordable housing units. It could create conditions that support increased housing supply
- Can the City enforce more people living here? (In terms of front yard parking, overcrowding, etc.)
Check out our draft policy here.
Want to see what the proposed buffer zones around TBA districts could look like? Check out our maps here.