2020 brought OLYMPIA'S SINGLE-FAMILY NEIGHBORHOODS impactful changes

This site seeks to educate Olympia’s public about urban land use practices that protect the environment, sustain livability, preserve Olympia’s cultural heritage and cultural resources, maintain or foster affordable housing, prevent community deterioration and displacement of residents and promote equity. Also covered are the history, impacts and trends in housing, nationally and in the Northwest.

Many land use changes have come to Olympia recently that have potential long-term and cumulative impacts on environmental quality, livability, housing prices, home ownership, and stability of neighborhoods.

Changes in zoning regulations called the Missing Middle were implemented in Olympia with limited real public input. These new regulations were felt to conflict with both state environmental and growth regulations. After an appeal to a state board called the Growth Management Hearings Board, the Missing Middle zoning ordinance was invalidated (stopped). The Board decided: the environmental review had been inadequate and that storm water and flooding might occur, that density in neighborhoods would go above allowed limits, and that insufficient infrastructure (such as parking) might not support the newly allowed multifamily housing.

Subsequent state legislation has allowed multifamily housing in single family neighborhoods.  In late 2020, the City passed the Housing Options zoning changes that allow many new types of multifamily housing (two to twelve living units per building) in neighborhoods. Due to recently enacted state laws, these changes can't be appealed.