St. Paul, MN Passes a 'Missing Middle' Ordinance, Revolutionizing Single-Family Zoning

December 13, 2023 by
St. Paul, MN Passes a 'Missing Middle' Ordinance, Revolutionizing Single-Family Zoning
Architectural Overflow, LLC, Lee Buescher

What is missing middle housing you ask? 

"Missing Middle Housing" is a term coined by Daniel Parolek, founding principal of Opticos Design, describing housing types that are between single family housing and mid- to high-rise apartment buildings. This housing is set in a walkable neighborhood and maintains the scale of single-family homes. Housing types include duplexes, fourplexes, Live/Work buildings (mixed use residential architecture), and several options in between.

The city council of St. Paul, Minn., recently passed a groundbreaking missing middle housing ordinance, effectively eliminating single-family zoning. This ordinance permits the construction of duplexes to six-plexes within residential neighborhoods. This article explores the implications of this zoning change, highlighting its positive impact on affordable housing, neighborhood preservation, and diversified housing options. 
Boosting Affordable Housing: By embracing density and allowing for a broader range of housing types, St. Paul's 'missing middle' ordinance offers a solution to the affordable housing crisis. This change enables more units to be built in a cost-effective manner, paving the way towards creating more affordable housing options for the community. 
Diversified Housing Types: The elimination of single-family zoning allows for increased diversity in housing options. This not only addresses the shifting needs and preferences of modern homeowners and renters but also contributes to the overall strength and vibrancy of the community. These missing middle house examples, such as duplex, fourplex and six-plex residential buildings, cater to a wider range of demographics and lifestyles. 
Preserving Neighborhood Scale: There is often controversy when mixing modern style houses, contemporary residential architecture with traditional residential architecture in certain neighborhoods. While promoting density, the new ordinance emphasizes maintaining the scale and character for residential designs of single-family neighborhoods. By allowing these modern house style, multi-unit homes within existing residential areas, this change integrates denser housing options in a way that is respectful and compatible with the existing fabric of the community. 
Aging in Place Opportunities: The 'missing middle' ordinance provides opportunities for aging residents to remain within their cherished neighborhoods as their housing needs evolve. With the availability of diverse housing types, individuals and families can downsize or find homes that better suit their changing circumstances while staying connected to their local community. 
This article is tailored towards builders, developers, architects, and architecture clients who are interested in staying informed about the latest zoning changes, trends in residential architecture, and opportunities for affordable housing in St. Paul, Minn. If you are looking for top residential architecture firms to help design new architectural styles for duplex to six-plex residential structures, check out the experienced team at Architectural Overflow LLC.

St. Paul, MN Passes a 'Missing Middle' Ordinance, Revolutionizing Single-Family Zoning
Architectural Overflow, LLC, Lee Buescher December 13, 2023
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