On January 14, 2022, amendments to the Albany Development Code went into effect that allow middle housing types in areas zoned for residential uses where detached single-unit housing are currently permitted. The objectives of allowing middle housing types in more areas in the city are to:
- Improve housing choices in the short term, and housing affordability in the long term, for Albany residents.
- Help Albany comply with House Bill 2001, a 2019 state law requiring cities to increase the variety of housing options in residential areas by permitting “middle housing.”
Learn more about House Bill 2001 and Middle Housing here.
What is Middle Housing?
In Albany, middle housing refers to duplexes, triplexes, quadplexes, townhouses, and cottage clusters. Middle housing types are typically built at a similar scale as single-unit detached houses and were common in neighborhoods prior to World War II. However, Albany and many other cities prohibited or significantly limited middle housing in single-family neighborhoods through zoning regulations that categorized them as “multi-family housing.”
What are Albany’s regulations and process for building Middle Housing?
The following handouts explain most of Albany’s middle housing types in more detail and provide the applicable Albany Development Code Standards for each housing type, including minimum lot sizes by zoning district.
A single detached building containing two primary dwellings. (Buildings with a primary dwelling and an accessory dwelling unit (ADU), would follow the ADU standards in ADC Section 3.080(4).) Duplexes are permitted on any lot or parcel where detached single unit dwellings are allowed and must meet the same design and development standards as detached single unit dwellings.
Triplexes and Fourplexes
Include a single building containing three (triplex) or four (fourplex) dwellings on a single lot or parcel.
Are two or attached dwelling units where each unit is on its own lot or parcel and served by separate utilities.
A grouping of up to eight detached cottages with a footprint of less than 900 square feet each that includes a common courtyard.
Middle Housing types are permitted with a building permit. Applicants will submit the applicable middle housing checklist (coming soon) with their building permit to ensure compliance with all applicable development standards.
Are ADUs (accessory dwelling units) considered Middle Housing?
No. One accessory dwelling unit is permitted on each lot that contains one legally established single detached dwelling unit. ADUs are subject to the development standards in ADC Article 3, Section 3.080 (4).
Why do cities need more Middle Housing types?
Housing needs vary. Many residents are paying more than they can afford for housing and are limited to renting or buying detached homes they can’t afford. Small families, young adults, and the growing population of elderly need housing options that offer a smaller footprint, lower maintenance, and easier access to public transportation, services, and social opportunities. Enabling middle housing and a greater variety of housing options will expand opportunities for where people can choose to live, and what type of homes they live in.