Spokane Officially Approves Expanding Middle Housing

November 27, 2023

Aerial view of Spokane

On Monday, November 20th, the Spokane City Council voted unanimously to extend the Building Opportunity and Choices for All (BOCA) ordinance that legalizes different middle housing types in the city, and updates development regulations to make them easier to build. Futurewise has supported the BOCA ordinance since 2022 as part of our Shaping Spokane Together housing agenda.

The changes approved by Spokane City Council will create more housing options for Spokanites that take advantage of existing infrastructure, for example sewer, water, solid waste systems, while helping to prevent suburban sprawl. The building code changes will promote infill development, connecting new homes in Spokane with transit, parks, schools and jobs. Multifamily housing continues to be more affordable than single family homes, although we must also acknowledge the impact of steep rising rents in Spokane.

Similar to our state housing agenda, we recognize that zoning changes are just part of the puzzle of housing affordability. While it’s absolutely critical that we change our zoning and development regulations to make it easier to build new homes in areas served by jobs, schools and transit, we also need other housing reforms to bring housing affordability within reach of more people. In Spokane, we are advocating for the city council to adopt additional measures like proactive rental assistance, disability accessible units, and inclusionary zoning to address the housing crisis.

Futurewise is joined in our housing advocacy in Spokane by a broad coalition, including:

Mujeres In Action
Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho
Lok Engineering
Northwest Fair Housing Alliance
Hispanic Business Professionals Association/Nuestras Raices
The Carl Maxey Center
Spectrum Center Spokane
Inland Northwest Disability Experience
Jasmin Group
Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane
Spokane Rising