Spokane has been working for years to address housing need while preserving community character and livability. To make changes based on the well-informed strategies in the Spokane Housing Action Plan (HAP), the City has identified several code amendments that could be adopted as changes to the Spokane Municipal Code. The proposed changes have been guided by Mayor Woodward's July 26, 2021 Housing Emergency Proclamation and the City Council's HAP Implementation Plan.
The Shaping Spokane Housing program kicked off in November of 2021, and initially proposed changes that would increase housing supply, variety, and affordability by allowing greater flexibility for developing attached homes (townhomes) and accessory dwelling units (ADUs), as well as development regulations to encourage construction of duplexes, in addition to improvements to codified permit processes.
Phase 1 increased flexibility of development standards for Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), removed the Lot Size Transition requirement that forced some lots to be larger than required, and modified Short Plat notification requirements in addition to reducing application fees. Code changes related to attached homes, duplexes, and design standards were folded into the Building Opportunity and Choices for All interim zoning ordinance that City Council approved on July 18, 2022.
The Housing Action Plan Code Changes Phase 2 focus on changes to environmental reviews required under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) and how the City regulates short-term rentals. Proposed changes for environmental review would increase the threshold that permits minor new construction without requiring a SEPA review in line with the allowances listed in WAC 197-11-800. For changes to short-term rentals (STRs), the City is proposing new code language which would allow STRs in commercial zones as well as limiting total number of units that can be permitted for a short-term rental use in both residential and commercial zoning districts.
Adopt exemption levels as permitted in WAC 197-11-800 to streamline permitting processes, add standards for discovery of historic artifacts.
Expand allowable zones to enable licensing compliance.
We want to hear from the community throughout the process for each code amendment. It is important that proposed changes to residential development and design standards meet Spokane's goals, giving all existing and future residents more options for housing types and locations.
Find upcoming agendas on the Plan Commission page. Follow the following video links to view and listen to recordings of the Plan Commission workshop presentations and discussion:
Emailed announcements about the Shaping Spokane Housing project.
The City of Spokane Planning Services department hosted two virtual open houses to provide information about the code amendments. The question and answer portions are included.