Missing Middle Housing Projects Updates

Sacramento’s Groundbreaking Zoning and Policy Reform

Collaboration between Opticos and the City of Sacramento is underway to enable Missing Middle Housing citywide as part of a broader effort to increase the supply of lower-cost, attainable housing. The City of Sacramento took a monumental step forward when the City Council adopted the 2040 General Plan on February 27, 2024.

Opticos’ Work on the Citywide Missing Middle Housing Implementation Study

The study is coordinated with ongoing updates to the General Plan and the Climate Action and Adaptation Plan. It includes in-depth analysis to identify physical constraints, feasibility hurdles and regulatory barriers for Missing Middle in Sacramento, and assesses the risk of potential displacement. The findings, refined through extensive community feedback at all key milestones, will inform zoning and policy changes to enable attainable, lower-cost housing calibrated to existing contexts; employ anti-displacement strategies, and introduce targeted programs to promote long-term housing affordability, increase homeownership, and create opportunities for local investment.

New General Plan Leads the Nation in Housing Policies

What makes Sacramento’s approach truly groundbreaking is its departure from traditional zoning practices. With the new General Plan, the city eliminates the cap on the number of housing units that can be constructed on a parcel of land in single-family zones, replacing it with a floor area ratio (FAR) model. Property owners can now construct multi-unit housing based on FAR, as long as the building meets height and setback restrictions.

By allowing multi-unit residences in all Sacramento neighborhoods, the city is encouraging the construction of “missing middle” housing. SACOG’s 2020 Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) determined the Sacramento region should plan for the construction of nearly 27,000 housing units for moderate-income residents and more than 60,000 units for low- and very-low-income earners this decade.

Sacramento’s new General Plan is another step toward achieving that goal and sets a precedent for cities across the nation. By fostering diverse, inclusive neighborhoods and prioritizing attainable housing, Sacramento is not only addressing the immediate housing crisis but also laying the groundwork for a more sustainable and equitable future.