Infill Housing

Infill housing is one of the best ways to make use of the City’s remaining residential land. By focusing on vacant and underused land, infill development helps implement the City’s goals and policies related to housing options, efficient land use and climate change.

What is the Infill Toolkit?

The Infill Housing Toolkit (BMC 20.28) represents seven (7) traditional housing forms that use a limited amount of residential space. In general, these forms include small homes that provide low-impact housing options. Each toolkit housing type includes design standards that are intended to help them architecturally blend into existing neighborhoods through careful attention to building design, parking and landscaping. Their flexible design and smaller size makes them suitable for a variety of households, from graduates to aging parents.  

The toolkit includes these seven housing forms:

  • Small and smaller lot detached single-family houses
  • Cottages
  • Duplexes
  • Triplexes
  • Shared courtyard housing
  • Garden courtyard housing
  • Townhouses

Where is the Toolkit allowed?

  • All forms are allowed in multi-family zones, except that only small houses, smaller houses, cottages, and duplexes are allowed in multi-family zones with a “duplex” qualifier.
  • All forms are allowed in cluster preliminary plats in single-family zones with a “cluster”, “cluster detached”, “cluster attached”, “mixed”, or “planned” qualifier pursuant to BMC Title 23.
  • All forms are allowed in areas that were annexed after 1995 with a “mixed” qualifier that allows multi-family residential.
  • Limited forms are allowed in Area 8 of the Sunnyland Neighborhood.
  • Most forms are allowed in all other zones that allow residential uses, including most commercial zones and certain areas within urban villages.

The toolkit is not allowed in neighborhood commercial zones or the Lake Whatcom Watershed.

Helpful Resources

Learn more about the Infill Housing Toolkit and neighborhood zoning with these helpful resources:

Contact Us 

 Have questions or need help getting started? Contact the Planning and Community Development Department at or 360-778-8300.