Members of Warren County’s planning and zoning board are set to begin a discussion this month about the possibility of allowing ‘tiny home’ developments, and the regulations that …
Members of Warren County’s planning and zoning board are set to begin a discussion this month about the possibility of allowing ‘tiny home’ developments, and the regulations that would need to be placed on them.
Tiny homes are a relatively recent trend in home construction. The term typically refers to houses that range in size from 100 to 400 square feet, according to one estimate from AARP. Motivations for building and living in tiny homes include their low cost, minimal waste of space and materials, environmental conservation, and focus on simpler living.
Warren County’s zoning code doesn’t currently have an allowance for developments designed around the minimal space requirements of tiny homes. The county government’s current code for what it sees as “high density” subdivisions allows one house per 15,000 square feet (about three houses per acre).
A rough preliminary draft of guidelines for tiny house developments will be discussed by the county planning and zoning board during their public meeting on April 21. The board members, who are all citizen volunteers, will use that as the beginning of a process of discussing and revising the potential regulations.
No final proposal or vote on tiny home development rules will take place until a later date, if the county chooses to proceed with them at all.
The preliminary draft of tiny home rules asks planning board members to consider important factors of where and how the housing will be allowed. The Record was provided with a copy of the preliminary draft from the Warren County Planning and Zoning Office.
The most important feature of the proposed rules is that they would confine tiny homes to certain pre-approved areas. A landowner or developer would have to come to the county to get an area zoned for the tiny homes, similar to what builders have to do for residential subdivisions.
Planning board members will have to decide where those tiny house districts would be allowed, what density of homes would be allowed in an area, and what building features each house must squeeze into their tiny frames, along with numerous other potential regulations.
Because the homes would be developed in concentrated areas, the preliminary draft rules also include stipulations for development areas to have a homeowner association (or similar governing group) that would be responsible for maintaining any common ground.
Nothing in the draft regulations for tiny homes is set in stone, and much of the document could change once the planning board have their say in it. That discussion will be open to the public on April 21 at 7 p.m. in the lower level of the Warren County Administration Building.
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