Lacey Planning Commission briefed on new laws for 'middle housing' and related issues


The Lacey Planning Commission received a comprehensive briefing regarding newly passed laws for middle housing and Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs).

Lacey Housing Coordinator Jennifer Adams emphasized the importance of understanding legislative requirements and addressing housing inequity in Washington state. 

“Housing inequity is a national issue,” said Adams. “It's important to establish an understanding of our current housing trends from national, state and local perspectives.”

Adams also highlighted the significant gap in homeownership rates between white households and BIPOC (black, indigenous, and people of color) households, underlining the urgent need for new housing units to bridge this disparity.

The briefing outlined the legislative landscape, particularly highlighting two significant pieces of legislation enacted in 2023 by Washington State.

Engrossed Second Substitute House Bill 1110 mandates cities with populations ranging from 25,000 to 75,000 to allow a minimum of two middle housing units per lot in predominantly residential zones. The bill also encourages the creation of affordable housing units within these developments.

Engrossed House Bill 1337 also focuses on minimizing barriers to ADUs in predominantly single-family residential zones. This includes allowing at least two ADUs on all lots that permit single-family homes and eliminating owner occupancy requirements.

To support the implementation of these new measures, Lacey secured a $75,000 middle housing grant managed by the Washington State Department of Commerce.

The grant aims to provide fiscal support necessary for policy work and has a multi-phased process approach spanning 1.5 years.

What's 'middle housing'?

While middle housing does not inherently constitute affordable housing, Adams said it aims to offer more housing options across various income levels.

As discussed during the briefing, middle housing refers to a range of housing options compatible with single-family homes, including duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, townhomes, stack flats, courtyard apartments and cottage houses.

Adams reiterated the city's commitment to aligning with these new regulations, including engagement with stakeholders such as developers, individual landowners, and local building design firms to gather input and ensure that the updates to the Comprehensive Plan and Lacey Municipal Code reflect the community's needs.


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  • PhyllisBooth

    Missing middle housing policies have unintentional consequences of exploiting poor neighborhoods where starter homes are located. Now we are fighting against school closures. I think our lawmakers who own single family homes have made a mistake. They have priced families out of the housing market even more. They have turned poorer areas into more rentals rather than home ownership which builds wealth. These missing middle policies allow out of area owners to exploit even more than before.

    Sunday, March 3 Report this

  • Southsoundguy

    Home ownership as a vehicle for increasing wealth IS the problem. Stop treating homes like an investment asset. Buy bitcoin.

    Monday, March 4 Report this