Tacoma set to take next step toward doing away with single-family zoning

Jul 6, 2021, 11:38 AM
Tacoma, single family zoning...
Tacoma continues its journey toward denser housing. (Joe Mabel, Wikimedia Commons)
(Joe Mabel, Wikimedia Commons)

The next phase of Tacoma’s proposal to do away with the single-family zoning label and build denser housing begins Tuesday, with the first of two virtual information sessions.

Key differences between Seattle, Tacoma plans to axe single-family zoning

The proposal — known officially as the Home in Tacoma Project — would do away with the city’s existing single and multi-family zoning labels, and instead use two new categories: low-scale residential and mid-scale residential.

Low-scale residential would group single-family homes together with duplexes, triplexes, mother-in-law units, cottage housing, and in some cases, even smaller apartment buildings and fourplexes. Mid-scale residential would encompass apartment complexes up to four stories tall.

While an early draft of the Home in Tacoma Project estimated that roughly 90% of the city is currently designated solely for single-family residential homes, the latest version says that number is likely closer to 75%. The proposal aims to close the gap between smaller homes and larger multi-family housing by adding denser options near transit routes, central corridors, shopping centers, and “other urban activities.”

By shifting away from the more binary single and multi-family monikers, city leaders hope to focus more on “building form, design and scale,” which would include exceptions for larger apartment complexes in areas where taller buildings are already present.

“The objective is to provide more housing options, support affordability, diversity, walkability and thriving neighborhood businesses while ensuring that new housing complements the overall scale and residential patterns of existing neighborhoods,” the proposal states.

How to ‘sympathetically’ upzone single-family neighborhoods

A Tuesday informational meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. over Zoom, where the purpose and function of the low-scale residential label will be explained in detail. A second meeting on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. (also over Zoom) will dive into the details surrounding mid-scale residential housing options.

Then on Tuesday, July 13, the Tacoma City Council will be inviting the public to weigh in on the proposal as it’s currently written.

After that, the council will take public feedback under advisement, and if they decide to move forward, will have a lengthy list of zoning changes, design standard updates, and permitting reviews to move through before a potential phased-in implementation.

Local News

Nurses admit a patient transferred from the ICU COVID unit to the acute care COVID unit at Harborvi...
Nicole Jennings

Legislature debates WA hospital staffing ratios as healthcare labor problem steeps

Hospital administrators and health workers are divided over a bill that would mandate staffing ratios in different hospital departments.
24 hours ago
homes, single family zoning, moving company, Puget Sound housing...
Nick Bowman

Puget Sound housing market hits record numbers as prices continue to soar

Despite historically low inventory, the Puget Sound region housing market set records in 2021, as prices continued skyward.
24 hours ago
MyNorthwest Staff

‘Right to repair’ bill would give Washington state consumers control over electronics repair

Washington state’s Legislature is considering a consumer protection bill intended to make it easier to repair personal electronics.
24 hours ago
Nick Bowman

State lawmakers take up abortion debate amid uncertain future for Roe v. Wade

The national debate surrounding abortion and reproductive rights is also taking place in Washington during 2022's legislative session.
24 hours ago
downtown shooting...
KIRO Newsradio staff

Open investigation after downtown Seattle shooting sends one to hospital

A 31-year-old man was transported to Harborview Medical Center on Wednesday after a shooting in downtown Seattle.
24 hours ago
COVID Washington two years...
Nick Bowman

2 years after Washington identified nation’s first COVID case, future of pandemic remains unclear

As of this week, it's now been exactly two years since the first case COVID-19 cases was identified in both Washington and the United States. 
24 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
Tacoma set to take next step toward doing away with single-family zoning