Missing Middle: What's in it for Olympia?

11/5/18 The City passed the Missing Middle ordinance. All shaded (and numbered or lettered) areas on this map would allow triplexes, fourplexes, 12 unit-or larger townhouse buildings and 12-unit courtyard apartments. To see the City's official "Summary of City Council Final Draft  Code Changes", go here

City Council member Clark Gilman sums up the MM process at the 9/11/18 council meeting 

http://olympia.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=1917       (use the slider at the bottom of the video frame to start at time 3:46:40 and listen to the following 3 minutes)

Olympians for Smart  Development & Livable Neighborhoods appealed the MM decision at the Thurston Growth Management Hearings Board (GMHB) and won in July 2019. The City has appealed this decision (to the GMHB) 7 times and lost. It may now appeal to superior court. To see the latest OSD&LN newsletter on this process, go here.

To Donate to the OSD&LN legal fund, go here.

To download and print a flier for your neighbors: for a pdf version go here, for a jpeg version, go here.


Common false labels for those who don't want Missing Middle:

Demogoguery: NIMBYs, Racists, Anti-growth, Anti-homeless, Anti-renter: A common tactic in dealing with critics of plans or laws that benefit a few and hurt many, is to demonize critics with unwarranted, negative stereotypes. 

Over the next 20 years, it's projected that Olympia could see 20,000 additional residents. The Comp Plan directs that most of this residential growth be concentrated in the nodes, and also that residential neighborhoods densify with compatible infill, including tiny houses and cottages, ADUs, manufactured homes and small townhouse buildings.

Instead, MM ignores the nodes. MM prescribes large housing types, attractive to large investors, and prohibited by the Comp Plan. MM reduces green space, lot sizes and parking to ridiculous levels, removes design review from public process, doesn't even profess to help homeless or create affordable housing.MM has no mechanism to control sub-urban sprawl on Olympia's perimeter. MM doesn't monitor or control maximum housing density in the neighborhoods it affects. 

NIMBY? MM has the potential to put almost ALL expected growth in residential neighborhoods instead of the nodes. MM doesn't spread growth evenly throughout Olympia. Is this fair?

Racist? America has a shameful tradition of whites moving to the outer suburbs to avoid people of color. The neighborhoods selected for MM ARE the in-town poorer neighborhoods. Residents settled here because it was affordable, and had the living situation they wanted to raise kids, animals and grow gardens, not to escape anything.

Anti-growth? We are overjoyed to see dense construction in the nodes, like downtown, and look forward to other well-planned, high-density growth east of Boulevard and west of Division, as prescribed in the Comp Plan. We also look forward to continued densification of our neighborhoods, with compatible housing already allowed. We also want local contractors to build this housing.

Anti-Homeless? MM has nothing to do with homeless housing. MM will focus on higher-end market-rate housing, and has great potential to cause tear-downs of more-affordable, older housing, both as rentals and starter homes.

Anti-renter? Neighborhoods chosen for large MM housing already have large percentages (50% to 75%) of renters (many in single-family houses), which is great. However, neighborhood health depends on a balance of renters and live-in owners. MM incentivizes the elimination of owner-occupied housing.

Olympians for Smart Development and Livable Neighborhoods is for a housing plan that begins with the needs and input of Olympia residents, AND is guided by the Comprehensive Plan. The neighborhoods targeted by MM for large housing are the older ones, the affordable ones, the ones with mostly well-kept homes, built from 1850 to 1930. We believe preserving single-family neighborhoods in-town prevents sub-urban sprawl, by offering this much-desired type of housing in-town. 

What kind of older Olympia Residential Neighborhoods do you want?


Print a "No Missing Middle" sign to put in your car window or carry to a Council Meeting: download and then print a jpeg version here in the "landscape" orientation (long dimension horizontal), or a pdf version here.

•Make a flier (or use the one provided on this website), copy it and give copies to your neighbors.

What is Missing Middle (MM)?

A decision will soon be made whether to bring Missing Middle to your neighborhood . To date, the largest attempted change in zoning to occur in Olympia, the Missing Middle proposes dense multifamily units in single-family neighborhoods. 

• Large housing such as triplexes, fourplexes, and 12-unit apartments will be squeezed in next to single family homes

• Units can go to three-stories and tower over homes. Multiplexes and townhouses will be allowed on skinny lots.

• Accessory dwelling units can be two-story units that require no parking and no owner onsite.

• No research has been done by the City to predict parking problems, traffic congestion, overcrowding of schools, loss of greenspace and wildlife habitat, and increased danger of storm water flooding.

This proposal is being pushed as making housing more affordable, but the opposite will happen.

• There is no plan in Missing Middle to incentivize affordable housing

• It can lead to gentrification of Olympia with demolitions of modest homes to make room for larger units.

• New units will be expensive. Lower priced housing will be harder to find, and renters will be forced out.

• Property taxes will increase to pay for infrastructure upgrades.

Don’t be fooled.This proposal did not come from the community. It is being pushed by City Planning Staff, local developers, and density advocates who feel they know what is best for Olympia and your neighborhood.

Learn about Missing Middle facts on this website. All information came from the City MM website or documented sources

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