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Learn more about new potential housing choices in the City of Tacoma.

  • 2 min read
  • February 11, 2020

It’s no secret that Tacoma has a hot real estate market. And it’s pretty well-known that affordability is an increasing challenge for more and more of our residents.

That’s why the City of Tacoma, as part of its Affordable Housing Action Strategy (AHAS), has called for a greater variety of housing choices to meet the intense demand in our market. These include recent changes to allow for more accessory dwelling units, as well as more options for residential infill like duplexes or townhomes (sometimes referred to as the “missing middle” of city development). This will also include a re-evaluation of various incentives used for encouraging development, like the multi-family tax exemption. And most interestingly in 2020, this will include a robust conversation about inclusionary zoning.

Inclusionary zoning in particular can be an incredibly useful tool for ensuring long-term affordability. Here’s how it works:

  • The city increases zoning intensity in a certain area. This allows for denser housing, taller residential buildings, etc.
  • In exchange for benefiting from the extra density (i.e. making more money), the developer is required to reserve a certain amount of those new housing units as permanently affordable.

Inclusionary zoning is especially effective when built around bus lines, light rail, or any other sort of public transportation, because it allows residents to save money out-of-pocket by having more transportation options. This is called transit-oriented development, or TOD.

These are just a few of the examples of the many policies recommended by the AHAS study group. Click here for a complete list of recommendations.

For those of you who are interested in commenting or attending a public hearing, you are encouraged to either email the Planning Commission before February 28th, or showing up to the Planning Commission’s public hearing at 5:30 PM on February 19th (in the City Council chambers).

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