The Washington City Council has approved changes in the zoning code in an effort to promote the construction of housing that will be affordable to buyers with moderate incomes, particularly young couples. The council action came after months of discussion, a review process and public hearings.

No organized opposition was voiced. However, considerable support was heard.

The major change, and the one drawing the most interest, is the creation of a new single-family residential zoning district, tagged R-1D, which allows minimum lot sizes of 7,500 square feet with 60-foot-wide frontages and 6-foot-wide side yards.

The code also was amended to change lot sizes in the current R-1B, single-family residential districts from 10,000 square feet to 6,000 square feet in areas with smaller lot sizes with specific boundaries. These areas generally are north of Highway 100 in the city.

The changes were recommended by the planning and zoning commission, which took the lead in the review and study process. A special committee also recommended the changes. The committee was composed of city officials, realtors, developers and builders.

The goal is the construction of homes that are affordable and to overcome the “I can’t afford to live in Washington” situation because of the cost of property. The relaxation of the code in lot sizes should result in lower costs for the developer, who in turn can offer the homes at an affordable price.

No changes were made in street width sizes and sidewalk requirements.

This is a step in the right direction for Washington to become more attractive to developers, who in turn can offer new homes at a price that people can afford.