Shaping Spokane Housing

Shaping Spokane Housing aims to address our housing needs while preserving community character and livability. Based off the well-informed strategies in the Spokane Housing Action Plan (HAP), the program identifies comprehensive plan policies and development code regulations that can be improved to increase housing choice throughout Spokane.

Announcements

  • June 18, 2022, City Council Unanimous Approval for the Building Opportunity and Choices for All pilot program allowing attached homes, duplexes, triplexes, and fourplexes citywide
  • June 27, 2022, City Council Unanimous Approval for Phase I Housing Action Plan Code Changes related to Accessory Dwelling Units, Lot Size Transition, and Short Plats

Current Projects

Shaping Spokane Housing includes multiple projects working to address our housing needs.

  • Building Opportunity and Choices for All Pilot Program
    Building Opportunity and Choices for All is a one-year interim zoning ordinance and one-year pilot program that modifies residential zoning to accelerate construction of more housing in neighborhoods, allowing for attached homes, duplexes, triplexes, and fourplexes citywide. During the pilot program, Planning Services staff will be working with stakeholders and the broader community to create permanent code changes that make housing choice more of a reality for Spokane’s residents.
  • Building Opportunity in Housing Phase I
    During the one-year Building Opportunity and Choices for All pilot program, Planning Services Staff will amend Shaping Spokane the City’s Comprehensive Plan. Staff will work with stakeholders and the broader community to establish land use and housing policies that better align with the goal of greater housing choice. Webpage coming soon!
  • Building Opportunity in Housing Phase II
    Taking action on strategies in the approved Housing Action Plan, Planning Services staff will be working with stakeholders and the broader community to create permanent code changes that make housing choice more of a reality for Spokane’s residents. This will include looking at the permitted housing types in residential zones, and the development and design standards for housing types. Amendments to residential code will reflect land use designation and housing policy changes being completed through the above Comprehensive Plan amendments. Webpage coming soon!
  • Housing Action Plan Code Changes Phase II
    The Housing Action Plan directs the City to streamline and simplify the development permit process to remove obstacles to building housing. Following recommendations from the Washington Legislature listed in RCW 36.70A.600, the City is proposing changes to the permitting process for environmental reviews required under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA). Additionally, the City is looking at updates to where and how short-term rentals are approved and how they impact the housing supply locally.
  • Housing Action Plan Code Changes Phase I (Completed)
    On June 27, 2022 City Council passed changes to the development code that permitted Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) size as well as making development and design standards more flexible for ADUs; removing the Lot Size Transition requirement for subdivisions in the RA and RSF zones, and modifying the notification requirements for short subdivisions and reducing the application fees for preliminary and final short subdivisions.

Available Incentives

While the Building Opportunity and Choices for All interim ordinance does not include financial incentives, those building under the pilot may be able to take advantage of existing tax incentives.

Multi-Family Tax Exemption

In targeted areas, new multi-family housing projects including condos, apartments, student housing, and townhomes can qualify for a significant property tax exemption. The improvement value of the new housing can be exempt from property tax for 8 or 12 years. Learn more about the multi-family tax exemption and file an application.

Single-Family Tax Exemption

Wanting to remodel your home, add rooms, or add an additional dwelling unit? You can qualify for a property tax exemption on the value of that new improvement for three-years. Learn more about the single-family and detached ADU tax exemption.

Provide Feedback

We want to hear from the community throughout the process for each code and Comprehensive Plan amendment. It is important that proposed changes give all existing and future residents more options for housing types and locations.

  • Sign up to receive email announcements about code and policy changes related to housing.
  • Email questions and comments, or request community outreach events, by emailing DevelopmentCode@spokanecity.org.
  • Come back to this page for updates on each code amendment as they progress.

Email Updates

Background

Historically, Spokane has offered a mix of housing options - from mansion apartments in the historic Browne's Addition, post-War era neighborhoods like Chief Garry Park, and suburban developments like Indian Trail. However, as the city has grown the diversity and supply of housing has not been able to meet the needs of all income levels. How do we know? As part of the Spokane Housing Action Plan (HAP), the City completed a Housing Needs Assessment to determine the types of housing residents need more of, as well as the displacement risk of various Census tracts throughout the city.

Washington's Growth Management Act (GMA) (Chapter 36.70A RCW) calls for promoting a variety of residential housing types and densities, preserving existing housing stock, and encouraging housing that is affordable to all income levels. To implement these policies, cities and counties planning under the GMA must include a housing element in their comprehensive plans, or a community's roadmap for growth.

The City of Spokane Comprehensive Plan reflects our community's values to support economic opportunity for all citizens with affordable housing and attractive neighborhoods. The document provides a vision of housing that is safe, clean, healthy, and attainable for all residents. And recent changes to State law (House Bill 1923) aim to increase residential capacity in cities across the state.

Responding to the new legislation, in July 2021, the City adopted its Housing Action Plan (HAP) to focus on implementation of housing policies and goals. The HAP identifies actions that the city can pursue to encourage more housing options and create more homes for more people. The Housing Action Plan built upon past initiatives and community discussions around infill development, housing quality, and affordable housing funding. The HAP yielded a coordinated set of strategies, based on community priorities, that supports more people being able to find a home that meets their needs with access to opportunities, services, and amenities.


Project Updates

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Contact Information

City of Spokane
Department of Planning Services
808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd.
Spokane, WA 99201
509.625.6500

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