About Middle Housing in Everett
Middle Housing is being considered as one way Everett can help address our long term need for more types of housing, as part of our update to the Comprehensive Plan (see everettwa.gov/2044) which guides how we grow and develop our city over 20 years.
Middle Housing could be allowed in all residential neighborhoods or just certain areas. Because of its size, it doesn’t necessarily require a large lot.
The City received a grant from the Washington State for this work, which will end in June 2023. The finished work will lead into a decision making process by the Planning Commission and City Council as part of the Everett 2044 Comprehensive Plan Update, through early 2024.
What is Middle Housing?
“Missing Middle” housing consists of house-scale buildings containing more than one housing unit that are compatible with lower-scale neighborhoods. "Missing Middle" housing refers to duplexes, triplexes, cottage housing, or small single-family dwellings that offer alternatives to apartment living and offer options for housing that are less dense than mid-rise apartments and denser than detached houses.
Middle Housing exists in Everett today. Duplexes on corner lots, historic homes remodeled to include additional units or multiple front doors, and townhouses can all be found today in Everett.
Middle Housing is not necessarily affordable housing. Middle housing refers to the size of the dwelling, not its cost. These homes (duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, cottage housing) are typically less expensive than a detached house, but these middle housing types may or may not fit strictly into the affordable housing definition. Some research shows that they may be affordable to families earning around $71,000 per year, or 60% of the average median income.
Middle Housing is built slowly over time. Even with the potential changes, it is unlikely that rapid or dramatic changes in land use would be seen. Growth of duplexes in Everett has been slow since they were allowed on more lots, and the same is true in many other Washington cities. Development of “Missing Middle” housing likely would be slow and incremental over many years.
Does “Middle housing” look like an apartment building? No. Middle housing does not look like an apartment building. These housing options are house-scale buildings that happen to have more than one household living within. This definition “counters the belief that as you add more units to a building it needs to get bigger and that multi-unit buildings are always bigger than a single-family home.”1