Cluster or Cottage Housing

Background: Cluster or cottage housing is a flexible approach to land development. In this type of housing, multiple smaller scale single-family homes or cottages are clustered together on variable-sized lots to maximize open space, create common areas, limit traffic flow to ensure safe play areas for children, and encourage the development of trails and walkways through the cluster development.

Currently in Edmonds, cluster and/or cottage housing may only be developed under a zoning process called Planned Residential Development (PRD), which is typically used for developing large planned communities. Developing a single-family zoning type specifically for cluster housing would allow developers a more direct permitting process and eliminate the more costly PRD process to develop cluster housing.

Example Cluster Housing Layout

Policy Idea

  • Create a new zoning option for Cluster Housing for at least some Edmonds areas, provided such housing is not on steep slopes or in environmentally critical areas.

Neighborhood Villages

Background: Neighborhood villages are locally-oriented mixed-use commercial and residential districts with access to major transit. The residential units in a Neighborhood Village may include live/work spaces, cluster housing, duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes, and multifamily apartment buildings with ground floor commercial use. The ground floor commercial space may include businesses like coffee shops, specialty supermarkets, boutique shops, and small restaurants. Possible areas in Edmonds for consideration of Neighborhood Villages are existing small commercial hubs currently zoned as “Business Neighborhood”.  Any change to allow a Neighborhood Village would require a full public process and consideration of environmental impacts.

Policy Idea

  • Provide neighborhoods opportunities for clusters of small commercial and housing use that include small-scale mixed-use buildings, are close to major transit, and where a variety of housing types, transit, and businesses ae easily accessible for nearby residents.

Multifamily Design Standards

Background: Design Standards are intended to guide the design of new construction and existing building rehabilitation. This may include engineering and site requirements, as well as standards for aesthetics and architectural appearance. Edmonds has updated some of its standards and guidelines in recent years but does not have specific guidelines for multifamily zones. Possible design standards, such as allowing for an additional stepped back top floor, could be used to incentivize developers to include affordable units.

Policy Ideas

  • Adopt design standards specifically for multi-family zones to promote visual interest, integrated landscaping, stepped-back upper floors, building modulation, and color/material variations.

  • Adopt multifamily design standards that incentivize affordable units through allowing for stepped back 3rd floors or, if not in view corridors, partial 4th floors stepped back on all sides.

The Housing Types Survey is now closed.

Contact Us

We want to keep you up to date! Check out the below resources to stay engaged with the Commission’s work:


  • Learn more about the Commission and submit public comment on the Commission webpage.

  • All Commission meetings are live streamed and recorded on the City of Edmonds webpageThe Commission meets on the 2nd Thursday of each month.

  • Sign up for the Housing listserv to stay up to date with the Commission’s work and future opportunities to share your feedback:

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