Windermere Professional Partners

10 Things You Need to Know About the Home in Tacoma Project

October 4, 2023

10 Things You Need to Know About the Home in Tacoma Project

Right now in Tacoma, there are not enough homes to meet demand, and there is not enough affordable housing to meet the needs of our community. This means that the city needs to make significant changes to its housing policies not only for today, but for the future.

The Home in Tacoma Project is a major initiative that works to solve many of the housing challenges that our community faces. Here are 10 commonly asked questions & answers about this project to help fill you in:

What is the Home in Tacoma Project?

As part of Tacoma’s Affordable Housing Action Strategy, the Home in Tacoma Project is about improving Tacoma’s housing in a variety of ways. Tacoma is facing a housing crisis, the city’s population only continues to grow. This project makes recommendations regarding housing growth strategy, policies and programs that can increase the housing supply, affordability, and choice for both current and future residents.

This short video shows an animated example of what some of these improvements might look like:

Proposals included in the Home in Tacoma Project Package also include code changes that would “streamline permitting for Accessory Dwelling Units, create optional incentives for development to include affordable housing, expand flexibility for non-conforming uses, and expand the multifamily tax exemption program.” (Read more here.)

What is the projected population growth in Tacoma?

Just from 2010 to 2020, the population in the Puget Sound Region grew by 600,000 people, and the current population sits at around 3.7 million. It’s estimated that the Puget Sound region will reach a population of almost 5 million people by the year 2040.

In the 2010 census, Tacoma had a population of 198,397, and in the 2020 census, Tacoma’s population was at 219,436. It’s estimated that Tacoma’s population will reach 325,000 by 2040, which means Tacoma will be adding about 127,000 new residents between now and 2040. (Read more about population in the Puget Sound area here.)

What are the City of Tacoma’s housing growth goals?

By the year 2040, Tacoma’s goal is to have added 59,800 additional housing units. This is to accommodate the anticipated growth in population. This number also takes into account the affordability of the homes that need to be built, as well as the projected median income of residents. You can learn more about “Tacoma 2040: Growing Tomorrow’s City” here.

What is “Middle Housing”?

Across the nation, middle housing zoning reforms are becoming more common as communities work to find more sustainable and affordable housing solutions. Examples of middle housing home types include backyard cottages, courtyard housing, row houses, and small multiplexes.

Currently, about 75% of Tacoma’s residential land supply is used mostly for single-family homes. This new effort would focus on increasing more diverse housing options. Many middle housing options provide the same amenities as detached homes—such as yard space and home ownership—while providing more density and affordability for residents.

What types of homes are allowed to be built in each neighborhood?

Each area of the city is being given special consideration regarding the types of homes that will be allowed to be built. For example, there are standards that will ensure new middle housing will “fit in” with a neighborhood in the sense that they won’t be too much larger or taller. There will also be design standards for each home type and promotion of middle housing that is “reasonably compatible with residential patterns and enhances the quality, character, and function of residential neighborhoods.” (Read more here.)

Can I build a Detached Accessory Dwelling Unit (DADU) in my backyard now?

In recent years, the City of Tacoma has made it much easier to construct ADUs/DADUs in backyards in an effort to increase density and middle housing options, which has included streamlining permitting. And, as part of the overall plan’s Anti-Displacement Strategy, the City will be collaborating with architects and lenders to create affordable ADU designs and accessible financing packages to help lower income households facilitate ADU construction.

If you live in a single-family home, adding a DADU to your property is a great way to add value to your home and make rental income. If you’d like to learn more about the details click here.

How will parking, greenery, open spaces, and other amenities in Tacoma be impacted by all of this new development?

As Tacoma’s population increases and housing options diversify, our communities will need to change in other ways as well. For example, parking is a major concern of the community. In the past, the city has required that each single-family house have parking space for 2 cars. If this rule were to continue, the amount of middle housing that could be built would be much more limited. The City is working to “right size” parking requirements, which will reduce parking opportunities throughout the city. However, expansion of transit availability and denser housing close to transit will help to create solutions to some of these challenges.

The City is also working on an Environmental Impact Study which will identify how the Home in Tacoma Project will affect the environment and also make recommendations for how to mitigate the impact. The City is also committed to reaching 30% tree canopy coverage, for example, and this is still the case even with all of the new development in the works.

What areas of Tacoma will be impacted by new residential designations?

In the “Home in Tacoma Project - PHASE 2: Implementation - FINAL Scope and Assessment Report: June 15, 2022” Report, you’ll find several maps that outline which areas of Tacoma are designated for low-scale residential, mid-scale residential, etc. Take a look to see what the possibilities are in your neighborhood!

Will the Home in Tacoma Project impact property taxes?

Many homeowners want to know if upzoning to allow middle housing will cause property values and therefore property taxes to rise. The City anticipates that property values and taxes will continue to go up regardless of what changes are made to local housing rules. Additionally, according to “Home In Tacoma Frequently Asked Questions” from the City of Tacoma Planning and Development Services, research has found that affordable housing also does not lower property values.

Where can I learn more about the Home in Tacoma Project and the City of Tacoma’s development plans for the near future?

The City of Tacoma’s website has a wealth of information about each of their projects on their website. You might find these particular resources helping in learning more about Tacoma’s growth strategy:

If you have questions or want to talk more about the Home in Tacoma Project, don't hesitate to reach out to us! You can start by getting in touch here or giving us a call at (253) 565-1189.