WebStamp October 18, 2017
Developing a Tiny House Community
It is obvious, especially after the dismantling of Midfield Trailer Park, that outdated current land bylaws need to be adjusted to provide secure, stable, and affordable housing in a large city environment. Tiny, and small houses, are a great solution for reasonably priced housing, however, it is almost impossible to find someplace to place one where you are not renting land or paying additional condo fees. Owning your own property for your tiny house with the Current outdated Calgary land bylaws allow for a minimum lot size of just over 2900 ⏍ft., 3 or 4 times of what a typical tiny house would actually require.
Reducing the size of the lot up to a ¼ of the minimum lot size would bring down the price for property up to 75%. For example, a 50’ x 120’ lot available for $250,000.00 in Ogden could host 4 tiny houses comfortably with the proper design. This would mean a homeowner could buy property at around $63,000.00. With the cost of a tiny house starting at approximately $40,000.00 to $100,000.00 and purchasing a small lot provides an avenue that one could own an affordable home with property with no plot rental or condo fees.
But, in order for this to be feasible current land use bylaws need to be updated to reflect the change in society for the 21st Century. The needs and the wants of people are changing. Many of the older generation still cling onto the values of the last century, with consumerism of large and extra large. This overindulgence has led to needing to work harder to earn more while generating stress. Today’s generations are looking to live in a place that doesn’t consume the majority of their income and the time for upkeep. They would rather spend their money and time on enjoying a stress-free life.
One could always buy a condo for about the same size and price, but the condo fees usually are much more than the property tax. Many would rather own their property with their dwelling than pay land rental or condo fees. A tiny house would be a good investment for the young professional or couple starting out as an investment without any other commitments. Empty nesters, young seniors, and snowbirds wanting to downsize are also looking into tiny house living. The problem in a city is to find these cost-effective stress-free ways of living with todays rules and regulations.
At N.A.I.T. in my Architecture/Landscape Architecture course our projects included designing entire communities and neighbourhoods. Living in Europe, apartments, condos, and a couple of tiny houses I have been able to calculate the minimum land requirements for tiny house lots. Instead of the current land bylaw of a minimum 3000⏍ft. lots, they should allow minimum lots of 1000⏍ft. The front, sides and back minimum setbacks could also be reduced allowing for smaller possible lots, allowing for 3 tiny homes where current land bylaws would allow only one dwelling.
We also need to make amendments with the National Building Codes(NBC) so we are able to build practical and functional tiny homes. A proposal to Tiny Houses NBC Code Change Request has been made to alter building codes to accommodate the building of tiny houses. Small houses do not need stairs that are 1/3 of the building width, or the bedroom is half of your house. Tiny house builders have come up with many creative ways to integrate multiple functions in a smaller area. Even though these innovations are sound, safe, and functional, they don’t comply with current building codes, making it difficult to build comfortable smaller homes.
Many of these rules and regulation were created in the last century. The way people live has changed tremendously and governments are always slow to adjust to the needs of the current population. Today’s society is more outspoken forcing politicians to listen and make the changes for the majority. The Tiny House Movement is real, but rules and regulations are preventing it from flourishing in Canada. Be sure to read our next issue article where we will look at actually designing a Calgary city lot for 4 tiny homes fitting with my proposed land bylaws adjustments.
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