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MRSC Insight Blog


Posts for Housing

Infill Housing Approaches: Targeting the Missing Middle and Accessory Dwellings

Infill Housing Approaches: Targeting the Missing Middle and Accessory Dwellings

As cities and counties look to expand housing supply in their communities, many are considering infill development, or developing vacant or under-utilized parcels within existing, developed areas. Missing middle housing and accessory dwelling units are two options to consider.

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Parking Reform: Part 2

Parking Reform: Part 2

Increasingly, many local governments are shifting away from requiring too much off-street parking, citing social, economic, and/or environmental reasons. What tools can these communities use to better manage existing parking supply and to anticipate future needs?

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Parking Reform Advances Climate Action, Housing Affordability, and More: Part 1

Parking Reform Advances Climate Action, Housing Affordability, and More: Part 1

While parking is an important commodity for a community, too much parking can prevent the land from being used for another purpose, encourage excess car travel, and possibly make other forms of transportation, like biking or walking, both more complicated and dangerous.

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Increasing Local Housing Supply Through Missing Middle Housing

Increasing Local Housing Supply Through Missing Middle Housing

Local governments seeking to expand housing options may want to consider a missing middle program that champions use of housing types which may fly under the radar, such as cottage housing, duplexes, and triplexes, alongside more trendy approaches like live-work developments. 

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Funding Local Affordable Housing Efforts

Funding Local Affordable Housing Efforts

It can be difficult for cities, towns, and counties to fund local affordable housing programs, but there are some options available, from taxing options to federal and state grant programs. 

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2022 Growth Management Act-Related Bills

2022 Growth Management Act-Related Bills

New legislation related to the Growth Management Act (GMA) will expand tribal participation, limit appeals for actions to increase housing supply, change periodic update timelines, provide additional options for limited areas of more intense rural development (LAMIRDs), and more.

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Preserving Affordability Through Manufactured Home Park Zones

Preserving Affordability Through Manufactured Home Park Zones

Manufactured homes are often overlooked yet can be an important affordable housing option. Local governments can protect them by creating new zones (or strengthening existing regulations) that designate areas specifically for manufactured home parks. 

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Using Affordable Housing Overlay Zones to Reduce the Risk of Displacement

Using Affordable Housing Overlay Zones to Reduce the Risk of Displacement

Increased zoning can sometimes result in gentrification of a community and the displacement of vulnerable populations. Affordable housing overlay zoning is a tool that can help to increase density without triggering the unintended consequences of gentrification and displacement.

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Anacortes is Getting Housing Done

Anacortes is Getting Housing Done

Written by guest author and Anacortes city councilmember Ryan Walters, this blog discusses how the city reworked its development codes to encourage new affordable housing developments, and how it was able to take advantage of SHB 1406 to fund these efforts. 

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Municipal Regulation of Residential Tenancies

Municipal Regulation of Residential Tenancies

Some cities and counties have enacted tenant protection measures to help renters adversely impacted by the state's booming real estate market. This blog looks at how the courts have ruled in terms of challenges to similar regulations instituted by the City of Seattle. 

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Manufactured Home Parks as a Local Source of Affordable Housing: A Case Study

Manufactured Home Parks as a Local Source of Affordable Housing: A Case Study

Manufactured homes can be an affordable option for many families and individuals. This blog looks at a study conducted by the City of Kent as it researched existing manufactured home parks throughout the city and how best to support these.

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Affordable Housing and the Impact of Short-Term Rentals

Affordable Housing and the Impact of Short-Term Rentals

Do an increasing number of short-term rentals impact the local housing market, especially for low- and moderate-income residents? Research suggests it does, and some local governments are regulating short-term rentals differently as a result.

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2021 Housing and Planning-Related Legislative Outcomes

2021 Housing and Planning-Related Legislative Outcomes

This blog post summarizes several housing and planning-related bills that were passed during the 2021 legislative session.  

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Expanding Olympia’s Residential Building Capacity Under HB 1923

Expanding Olympia’s Residential Building Capacity Under HB 1923

This blog, the second in a two-part series on how finding missing middle housing can expand affordable housing options, will focus on how Olympia used state-based legislation, E2SHB 1923 and SHB 2343, to encourage the development of more missing middle housing in the city.

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Expanding Affordable Housing Options Through Missing Middle Housing

Expanding Affordable Housing Options Through Missing Middle Housing

Part 1 of this two-part blog series looks at how a missing middle housing program can bring new affordable housing options to a city, using case studies from Wenatchee, Orting, Lake Stevens, Fife, and Walla Walla.

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Six-County Pilot Program to Help with Eviction Backlog

Six-County Pilot Program to Help with Eviction Backlog

This blog covers the pilot Eviction Resolution Program, a court-based approach to resolve more eviction-related cases before a landlord has the need to file an unlawful detainer action. 

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Keeping People Housed: Homelessness Prevention Strategies to Bridge Emergencies

Keeping People Housed: Homelessness Prevention Strategies to Bridge Emergencies

This blog post identifies root cause contributors to homelessness and details a variety of prevention strategies for local governments.

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Micro-Units: Another Tool in your Affordable Housing Toolbelt

Micro-Units: Another Tool in your Affordable Housing Toolbelt

This blog post provides an overview of micro-units, or small apartments between 125 to 400 square feet in size, their benefits, and some issues to consider when developing micro-housing plans. 

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Ballot Measure Results from the 2019 General Election

Ballot Measure Results from the 2019 General Election

This blog post provides a brief summary of I-976 as well as many of the city, county, and special purpose district ballot measure results across the state.

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Announcing an Updated Homelessness & Housing Toolkit

Announcing an Updated Homelessness & Housing Toolkit

In 2017 MRSC partnered with the Association of Washington Cities to develop the Homelessness & Housing Toolkit for Cities. This publication has been updated for 2019 and covers such hot-topic items as SHB 1406, Martin v. City of Boise, and more. 

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New Bill Provides Incentives for Washington Cities to Increase Residential Capacity

New Bill Provides Incentives for Washington Cities to Increase Residential Capacity

This past legislative session saw the passage E2SHB 1923, a bill intended to encourage more residential development capacity and increase local governments’ emphasis on affordable housing. 

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SHB 1406: Understanding the Affordable Housing Sales Tax Credit

SHB 1406: Understanding the Affordable Housing Sales Tax Credit

SHB 1406 will provide a new affordable housing revenue stream for those counties, cities, and towns that choose to participate; But to do so, those entities must act fast. 

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Affordable Housing Legislative Round-Up

Affordable Housing Legislative Round-Up

This blog post summarizes bills passed in 2019 that address affordable housing issues.

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From Tenant Protections to Vaping: A Peek at New Local Legislation

From Tenant Protections to Vaping: A Peek at New Local Legislation

This post presents a potpourri of interesting legislation that local governments in Washington State have passed, from the City of Kenmore to Clark County. 

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Legislature Paves the Way for Tiny Houses

Legislature Paves the Way for Tiny Houses

This blog post covers ESSB 5383, a new bill intended to enable the development of tiny house communities throughout the state.

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Finding ‘Missing Middle’ Housing, Part 2

Finding ‘Missing Middle’ Housing, Part 2

The second of a 2-part series looking at the City of ‚ÄčOlympia’s 2-year experience to encourage the growth of missing middle housing. Part 2 covers lessons learned. 

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Finding ‘Missing Middle’ Housing, Part 1

Finding ‘Missing Middle’ Housing, Part 1

This 2-part series looks at the City of ‚ÄčOlympia’s 2-year experience to encourage the growth of missing middle housing. Part 1 examines the formal processes the city undertook, including the creation of a 16-member workgroup to study the issue.

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HB 2578 Prohibits Source of Income Discrimination

HB 2578 Prohibits Source of Income Discrimination

Passed in 2018 by the legislature, HB 2578 enacts source of income discrimination protections that prohibit landlords from discriminating against prospective and current tenants based on alternative, non-wage sources of income.

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New Legislation Related to Affordable Housing

New Legislation Related to Affordable Housing

This post looks at laws from the 2018 Legislative Session that promote the development of affordable housing and address the housing affordability crisis, including 3SHB, 2382, HB 1085, SHB 2538, ESSB 5143, and ESSB 1570.

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Mobile Home Parks: The Newest Front for Housing Affordability

Mobile Home Parks: The Newest Front for Housing Affordability

One under-recognized inventory of affordable housing is the mobile home park. Consultant Lynn Nordby looks at  how communities across the country are protecting this affordable housing resource.

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Building Consensus for Bellevue’s Affordable Housing Strategy

Building Consensus for Bellevue’s Affordable Housing Strategy

According to a 2015 survey, a lack of affordable housing was cited as a major challenge for Bellevue businesses. Guest author Micheal Katterman talks about the city's successful effort to build an affordable housing strategy— by building consensus among a variety of stakeholders. 

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Inclusionary Zoning: One Approach to Create Affordable Housing

Inclusionary Zoning: One Approach to Create Affordable Housing

One approach used by a number of cities to increase the supply of affordable housing is called "inclusionary zoning," which requires affordable units to be included within new residential development projects or requires payment for construction of affordable units elsewhere.

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Accessory Dwelling Units under the Microscope

Accessory Dwelling Units under the Microscope

A look at what ADUs are, how they are regulated by Washington local governments, and new regualtory innovations that may help increase their production.

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It’s Time to Implement Your Affordable Housing Policies

It’s Time to Implement Your Affordable Housing Policies

When affordable housing developers step up to meet this need, they are sometimes frustrated by the disconnect between the adopted policies and inconsistent development regulations. This post examines how to get started on implementing regulations that provide fee relief and regulatory incentive programs.

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Cooperative Senior Housing: An Alternative to Meet the Needs of Today’s Senior Citizens

Cooperative Senior Housing: An Alternative to Meet the Needs of Today’s Senior Citizens

The needs of retirees continue to change as they age. Innocative alternatives such as senior co-operative housing may better address today's seniors than traditional senior housing models.

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Is Your Community Ready for Micro-Housing?

You're sitting at your desk at the permit counter. An application is dropped in front of you. You quickly skim the application — hmmm... five stories... 40 residential units... five shared kitchens — huh? Then you recognize the project address as a rather small lot. Your eyebrows (and your brain) furrow as you wonder how the architect could fit 40 units on that lot. Your forehead exchanges its confused furrows for wide-eyed astonishment as it dawns on you — each unit is only 120 square feet! At that moment, what pops into your head?

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