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City considers making room in zoning for tiny homes

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Tiny homes are a growing trend in some areas, and city of Roswell employees are presenting some suggested modifications of its zoning ordinance to accommodate them.

The city of Roswell Planning and Zoning Commission is expected to discuss the issue at its Tuesday meeting, 6 p.m., at the Roswell Convention and Civic Center, 912 N. Main St.

Any changes to the zoning ordinance would require the approval of Roswell’s City Council.

The commission members are being asked to consider three items related to tiny homes. The first is a modification to Article 20 of the ordinance, which covers Residential Mobile Home Subdivision Districts. The change would allow tiny homes and modular homes instead of just mobile or manufactured homes.

The second is the creation of a new article, Article 21, that would allow for a new type of subdivision district exclusively for tiny homes and modular homes, as well as possible related structures or amenities such as parks.

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The third would recommend changes in other sections of the ordinance as needed to allow for tiny homes and modular homes.

The commission members are also being asked to define a tiny home as a residential dwelling with 400 square feet or less of floor space.

At its August meeting, Merideth Hildreth, Planning and Zoning administrator, talked briefly about the city’s intentions to deal with the issue, showing photographs of modular homes and tiny homes that meet building codes.

According to various websites, modular homes can be large or small but refer to houses built by sections in an off-site facility, with those sections then shipped to the residential lot for assembly.

Tiny homes are typically between 100 to 400 square feet. They sometimes are transported on trailers to residential lots, where they can be placed on permanent foundations.

Tiny homes mean significantly lower ownership or rental costs, lower taxes, lower utility costs and more free time for people, according to The Tiny Life website.

The site indicates that tiny homes appeal to young adults, senior citizens and people who prefer conserving money, resources and materials. It also states that 68% of tiny home residents have no outstanding mortgages, compared to 23.9% of all homeowners; that 55% have higher savings than the average U.S. resident; and that 65% have no credit card debt.