Pilot Program Proposed To Accelerate Housing

Kirstin Davis, Community & Economic Development Communications Manager - 509.625.7773

Thursday, June 23, 2022 at 1:33 p.m.

Updated June 24, 2022

Mayor Nadine Woodward, Council President Breean Beggs and Council Member Michael Cathcart announced today a proposed pilot program to modify residential zoning to accelerate more housing in neighborhoods.

The Building Opportunity and Choices for All pilot program would allow more housing options to be built within the next year and is sponsored by Councilmembers Cathcart and Wilkerson.

This strategy was identified in the housing emergency declaration, as well as Council's action items included in the Housing Action Plan. The one-year pilot program includes:

  • Allowing duplexes and townhouses in all residential neighborhoods
  • Allowing 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,” says Mayor Nadine Woodward. “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,” says Council President Breean Beggs.

“Spokane’s working families deserve the opportunity to attain a home in the neighborhood of their choice at a price they can afford,” says Councilmember Michael Cathcart. “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 Building Opportunity and Choices for All pilot program will be briefed this Monday at the Public, Infrastructure and Environmental Sustainability Committee meeting with Council. First and final readings will follow in July.

The City will engage with Neighborhood Councils, housing advocates, other stakeholders, and the general public over the next few months to hear feedback and have a public hearing in September.

At the end of this one-year pilot program, the City expects to make permanent changes to the comprehensive plan and development code based on what is learned from the pilot.

Additionally, some initial code changes focusing on Accessory Dwelling Units and streamlining related processes are coming before Council this coming Monday. Both are a part of the Shaping Spokane Housing residential code revisions recommended by the Spokane Plan Commission and based on the Spokane Housing Action Plan.

Related Items