The Raleigh City Council is looking to smaller-scale development to expand housing options and combat the city’s burgeoning affordability crisis. 

The region’s rapid growth has placed a strain on the city’s already hot housing market. According to previous staff reports, the city will face a deficit of approximately 20,000 homes by 2040 if development and population growth continue at the current rate. 

And that doesn’t include affordable housing, which the county previously projected will be 150,000 units short of demand by 2035 without significant investment. 

On Tuesday, the council authorized city staff to draft a text change to the city code that might waive parking requirements and offer incentives for building tiny homes. 

Council members were briefed on the potential change last month at the request of Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin. The change would update the city’s unified development ordinance to permit tiny homes as both principal and accessory dwellings. It would also consider waiving parking requirements and allow the homes to be constructed in clusters known as cottage courts.

Staff will also look into potential zoning incentives for constructing tiny homes on smaller lots in the city. 

City staff is expected to return to the council in June with a presentation and draft language for the change. After the new policy is reviewed by the Planning Commission, it could be approved as early as this fall. 

There was no discussion on the matter Tuesday. The vote to approve the motion was unanimous. 

“Been waiting five years for this, so thank you,” Baldwin said.

District B Council member David Cox, who generally opposes easing development requirements, waved his hand.

“I just wanted to make sure you saw my yes vote,” he said. 

“I did, noted,” Baldwin said with a giggle. “Thank you very much.” 

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