Video: New rules address the ‘missing middle’ in Asheville housing options


Since the 20th century, zoning regulations across America
have moved along a path that limited housing diversity.
Due to these changes, housing mostly comes in two forms:
single-family homes or apartment complexes.

Residential infill development seeks to promote additional types of housing options for neighborhoods, such as townhouses, duplexes, triplexes and smaller courtyard apartment buildings.

Through zoning changes (also known as “wording amendments” to the City code), City staff are able to reintroduce these important housing options, which have been  termed “the missing middle.” They are called “the missing middle” because they have been largely been abandoned for the last 70 years. In other words, they’re “missing” from the current housing development pattern.

Nevertheless, these varied housing types were part of Asheville some 70 years ago, when multifamily structures were permitted in all zoning districts. As Asheville’s population has grown, the city has experienced an extreme shortage of affordable housing. In response, Asheville City Council asked staff to develop tools to promote more housing inventory.

In this video, Asheville Urban and Transportation Planner Vaidila Satvika offers a rundown of recent changes approved by Asheville City Council that now allow more housing variety in residential neighborhoods.

Grab a cup of coffee; this video is about eight minutes long. The tradeoff: You’ll learn about the new regulations and what they could mean for you and your neighborhood.

Please note: This video was revised after the Oct. 24 City Council meeting to include updated information on Council-approved 20% reductions to minimum lot sizes.