Brian Walker

Interim housing ordinance noted as 'groundbreaking action'

Brian Walker, Communications Manager, 509.625.6765

Friday, May 5, 2023 at 8:53 a.m.

Interim housing ordinance noted as 'groundbreaking action'

The City of Spokane’s innovative efforts to address the housing crisis has been touted as an model by the state Legislature, other local and state governments, the national media and trade associations.

The Building Opportunity and Choices for All (BOCA) interim ordinance, approved in 2022 as a year-long zoning program that modifies residential zoning to accelerate construction of more housing types, earned a state Excellence in Planning Award in the Comprehensive Plan-Large Cities and Counties Category.

The honor was presented during the Planning Association of Washington (PAW) and Washington Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA-WA) Conference in Chelan on April 27.

“Quick action by the City of Spokane to address the housing crisis through the adoption of an interim ordinance allowing all residential properties to develop up to four dwelling units per property was acknowledged by the jury to be a bold move, with impressive results undertaken by an internal City staff team,” said Darby Galligan, APA-WA co-chair.

“The project was a groundbreaking action to address the problem up front while creating a platform for discussions on how to grow and adjust single-family zoning for the betterment of the community. This effort was prescient to state housing legislation and positioned the City of Spokane well to begin recovery and improve housing access for all residents.”

The awards program is intended to bring attention and deserved recognition to public and private sector planning efforts, as well as student projects in university planning programs.

Award winners will have their projects/plans featured in the Western Planner Magazine, Washington Chapter of the APA Newsletter, PAW newsletter, and APA Washington's Planning Commissioner quarterly newsletter.

BOCA is approved through July 18, 2023. The City Council may take action to extend the program. City staff is working with the public on creating permanent comprehensive plan amendments and development code changes that ensure housing choice for all of Spokane.

The City’s Housing Action Plan, adopted in 2021, identified a desire to streamline permitting and simplify processes for the approval of new housing across the City.

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