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Spokane launches support team for middle housing projects

A duplex on Spokane's lower South Hill.
Rebecca White/ SPR
A duplex on Spokane's lower South Hill.

The city of Spokane is launching a team to support people working on missing middlehousing projects, such as duplexes, cottages and townhouses. The city legalized that type of housing through a pilot last year in hopes of increasing supply and bringing down prices.

Planning Director Spencer Gardner said most property owners and builders have experience building single-family homes, or large apartment complexes, but don’t know how to approach small two and three-unit projects.

"The lack of experience a lot of local builders have, and just the fact that we're still kind of working through aspects of our regulations that have historically privileged those far ends of the market, and kind of discounted the importance of middle housing, we wanted to provide a targeted service that can help with people who are trying to build those housing types," he said.

According to the city’s website, as of July, more than 400 middle housing projects are in the pre-permit process now.

Gardner said the new missing middle support team can offer suggestions to keep projects affordable while meeting safety and other standards. He said it can also offer feedback and support at any stage of the project, from looking at property to seeking permits.

Those looking to get assistance can make an appointment on the middle housing support team’s page on the city of Spokane’s website.