Atlanta's City Council voted in favor of tiny houses and other accessory dwelling units (ADUs) this week with the approval of an amendment that will update a size-restrictive zoning ordinance for residential units in certain areas of the city, according to Curbed Atlanta.
The change could help the city combat its affordable housing shortage, according to one council member, as the city's population is predicted to double in the next three decades.
- The amendment casts off square footage minimums for ADUs on lots zoned for duplexes, allowing homes of less than 750 square feet to be built on those lots, which could make smaller and typically lower-cost housing options available in some of Atlanta's most popular areas.
More metros across the U.S. are turning to tiny houses as one potential solution to expanding affordable housing options and easing pressure on tight inventory. Still, these small permanent dwellings — which are typically less than 400 square feet and include most of the utilitarian trappings of a typically house or apartment unit — have struggled to gain a foothold in the market due to inconsistent zoning and regulations nationwide.
A break could come in the 2018 update to the International Residential Code, which will likely see an appendix that makes allowances for this type of structure and could encourage more municipalities to incorporate tiny houses and other ADUs into their codes.
Still, tiny houses are making inroads in some parts of the country. Oregon legislators recently approved a bill that would amend and enforce the adoption of codes designed specifically for these structures. Though the Senate must now approve the bill, proponents hope the measure could ease some of the pressure on the state's housing shortage and help deflate housing prices.
In Portland, OR, Multnomah County officials are piloting a program that would help combat the city's high rate of homelessness by subsidizing homeowners to build tiny houses or another type of small ADU in their backyards and host a homeless family there for up to five years.
Even big builders are getting involved. Clayton Homes, which makes modular and manufactured homes, this week unveiled a 464-square-foot model tiny home. Selling for $109,000, the home will debut in Alabama, Louisiana, Nebraska, Kansas, Mississippi and Tennessee this month.
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