Tell Spokane City Council to pass zoning reform now

Image of a triplex in the Pacific Northwest with a bicycle in the foreground.
Sightline Institute

For years, West Coast cities have been facing a housing emergency, as chronic under-building of housing met massive demand, spurred by good jobs and the high quality of life that we all love. During the pandemic, this challenge has been particularly acute. And now it’s spilling over into second-tier cities like Spokane

The city’s Housing Action Plan, which was completed a year ago, found that more than 40% of residents were cost-burdened, with housing prices fast outpacing income growth. More recently, renters have been arriving home to massive rent increases, in some cases doubling their rent. And in May, the median home price hit a record $450,000 — a 20% year-over-year increase, and a stunning 55% increase over the past two years.

It’s long past time for us to do something to ensure these trends don’t continue in the long-term. We need to allow more housing of all kinds (like duplexes, triplexes, townhomes, and cottage housing) across our city, and we need to do it now. City Council and the administration have put together a proposal which would do just that. The Building Choices and Opportunity for All pilot program would allow more housing to be built across the city. We need to ensure it passes, and that its breakthrough reforms stick once it does.

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