How 'Missing Middle Housing' could help Spartanburg manage growth

July 23rd, 2023
By Allie Martinsen

Below is an excerpt from an opinion-editorial piece published for subscribers of the Spartanburg Herald-Journal. To read it in its entirety on the SHJ website, click here.

What is Missing Middle Housing?

As residential development encroaches into rural areas, zoning reforms are needed to prevent unchecked sprawl and build more livable communities. Missing Middle Housing (MMH) is one strategy that could help to guide and shape growth to enhance the character of rural, suburban, and urban places like Spartanburg. 

“Missing Middle Housing” (or MMH) is a term coined by Opticos Design founder Daniel Parolek to describe a range of housing types that match the look, feel, and scale of single-detached homes, yet include two or more homes (think duplex, tri-plex, mansion apartment, or cottage court). MMH exists in the “middle” of the housing-density spectrum, between single-detached homes and high-rise apartments.

MMH works best in walkable neighborhoods close to amenities like grocery stores, shops, and restaurants, where some daily trips can be made without a personal vehicle (reducing the amount of space needed for parking)...

How can MMH be embraced in Spartanburg?

As Spartanburg continues to grow, zoning-code reforms to accommodate more diverse housing options will be required to meet the needs of all community residents. Housing choice will remain particularly important for aging residents, households without children, and low- to moderate-income households.

So what are some common zoning reforms to encourage MMH? In mixed-use, walkable urban and suburban areas, local governments can eliminate minimum lot-size requirements, reduce excessive off-street parking requirements, and lower barriers to construction for small-lot, infill development. Such simple changes to land development and zoning regulations can enable MMH, to increase and diversify housing options, while limiting sprawl into rural areas...

What can Spartanburg residents do to get involved?

In the coming months, it is crucial that residents express their priorities to their elected representatives on Spartanburg County and/or City Council. Whether you care about conservation and/or housing, the right zoning is needed to balance growth with other community priorities as Spartanburg grapples with explosive growth.

Would you like to receive the latest news and action alerts related to Spartanburg City and County land use policy issues directly in your inbox? Visit to join our Spartanburg Land Planning & Policy Updates email list.

Error Message