We support

Missing Middle housing!

What is the Missing Middle?

The Missing Middle housing recommendations are proposed changes to building codes in Olympia neighborhoods that, if passed, will allow for more diverse housing options. This proposal removes barriers to building accessory dwelling units (ADUs), tiny homes, duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, courtyard apartments, cottage homes, townhouses, and single room occupancy residences (SROs). The changes do not impose higher density limits. They help us to achieve current density limits by allowing diverse housing options that are compatible with the existing scale and character of neighborhoods.

The city is talking about the Missing Middle as a component of the Comprehensive Plan to address population growth, housing affordability, access to public transportation. It is also among our strategies to prevent sprawl into rural areas. When facing these issues, it is important acknowledge that the Missing Middle is a piece of a larger puzzle, and does not go far enough to address the need. These recommendations are expected to create only 474 to 946 new residential units (not including ADUs) in all of Olympia over the next 20 years. That only represents 3.6% to 7.3% of the need for new residences through 2035. Nevertheless, it is a step in the right direction.

Some people are concerned about how neighborhoods will change. Our neighborhoods are already changing: they will either become more exclusive and expensive, or more diverse and inclusive. Others are concerned that new housing will not be affordable. This proposal is not intended to provide affordable housing (though it will provide more opportunities to do so). The intent of the Missing Middle is to address issues of affordability that are tied to insufficient housing for those of average median income. If more people of average median income are able to afford housing, fewer people will be at risk of becoming cost-burdened or homeless. There has also been concern on the environmental impact. Missing Middle housing is an environmental solution to population growth by allowing housing in areas that are already developed, rather than pushing growth into rural habitat and farmland. The Hearings Examiner has determined that this process and proposal are aligned with the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA).

There is broad, vocal support for the Missing Middle. Please see below for support from community members, as well as local and statewide organizations with diverse missions.

Letters of Support

Olympians For People-Oriented Places - signed by a long list of supporters whose interests include affordable housing, building, the environment, transit, planning, commerce, climate change, social justice, and farm and forest preservation. 


Homes First


Washington Environmental Council and Puget Soundkeeper

Representative Beth Doglio

Washington State Department of Commerce

Transportation Planner Thera Black

Articles and Podcasts

Olympia wants to avoid Seattle's housing fate
Crosscut by Josh Cohen, June 25, 2018

The case for -- and against -- Olympia's 'missing middle' housing changes
The Olympian, June 9, 2018

A key to housing affordability is more supply
The Olympian Editorial Board, June 5, 2018

Podcast: Housing Activist Kathy McCormick
The Olympia Standard, Episode 13, April 29, 2018

Gentrification isn't a four-letter word in Olympia
The Olympian Op-Ed by Max Brown, May 10, 2018

Care is needed for 'missing middle' housing
The Olympian Editorial Board, March 17, 2018

City livability is linked to higher urban density
The Olympian Op-Ed by Max Brown, March 14, 2018

Approaching growth in Olympia with optimism
The Olympian Op-Ed by Holly Reed, February 22, 2018

A 'Sustainable' Thurston County needs wise use of land
The Olympian Op-Ed by Kathy McCormick, February 13, 2018

Podcast: Housing, Housing, Housing
The Olympia Standard, Episode 8, January 23, 2018

Olympia Planners Aim to Prevent Sprawl Amid Population Growth
Next City by Josh Cohen, November 30, 2017


Letters to the Editor

Missing Middle is the least we can do
-Clay Shentrup, August 22, 2018

Let's not be anti-Missing Middle
-Helen J. Thornton, July 25, 2018

Missing Middle helps address homelessness
-Phil Owen, Sidewalk, July 21, 2018

Who are the Missing Middle
-Adam C. Blodgett, July 14, 2018

Missing Middle is not new news
-Jessicarae Nuñez, July 10, 2018

Missing Middle is not new idea for Olympia
-Kathy McCormick, July 7, 2018

Missing Middle won't harm the environment
-Holly Gadbaw, July 5, 2018

Missing Middle would set pace for housing alternatives
-Michele Horaney, June 29, 2018

Missing Middle one of multi-pronged solutions
-Seth Goldstein, June 21, 2018

Time to act on the Missing Middle
-Mike McCormick, June 20, 2018

Explore all avenues to support affordable housing
-Russ Cartensen, Chair of Homes First, June 13, 2018

Public input sought and incorporated on Missing Middle housing
-John Hagemann, June 9, 2018

Missing Middle deserves and needs support
-Paul Knox, June 7, 2018

In support of Missing Middle housing
-Erin Meade, June 1, 2018

Small affordable homes are in demand
-Linda Glasier, May 30, 2018

Missing Middle is the best use of space
-Jim Burlingame, May 26, 2018

Missing Middle allows citizens to be part of solution
-Whitney Bowerman, May 25, 2018

Missing Middle helps to preserve livability
-Larry Leveen, May 23, 2018

Building regulations cause gentrification
-Emmett O'Connell, May 19, 2018

Missing Middle means housing choice
-Jo-Anne Huber, May 18, 2018

Housing market alternatives need to be opened
-Michael Wilson, May 17, 2018

Housing options not available for seniors
-Eileen Mckenziesullivan, May 12, 2018

Four reasons to support the Missing Middle
-Doug DeForest, May 8, 2018

Missing Middle and farmland preservation
-Loretta Seppanen, May 4, 2018

Missing Middle Housing means putting economics ahead of aesthetics
-Thomas Serra, May 3, 2018

Seniors will benefit from Missing Middle
-Pat Rasmussen, May 1, 2018

Rapid growth pushes Missing Middle
-Rick Scrivner, May 1, 2018

Missing Middle is the right fit for Olympia
-Rob Richards, May 1, 2018

Missing Middle is a win/win
-Shauna Bittle, April 20, 2018

Missing Middle: A key element of a happy and vibrant Olympia
-Shaun Coombs, April 13, 2018

Missing Middle needed for affordable housing
-Marco Rosaire Rossi, April 11, 2018

Missing Middle is good for environment, communities, and schools
-Hilary Seidel and Scott Clifthorne, April 10, 2018

Missing Middle housing is good for Olympia
-Janae Huber, April 7, 2018

Missing Middle housing will keep Olympia healthy
-Erin Flynn, March 31, 2018

Missing Middle zoning changes absolutely needed
-Chris Rohloff, March 22, 2018

Missing Middle proposed zoning makes sense
-Jonathan Hutton, March 22, 2018

Missing Middle changes good for city
-Jayne Rossman, February 2, 2018