- A local community service organization is leading a $1.5 million effort to build Detroit's largest tiny house development, with the first home in the 25-unit development unveiled last week, according to The Detroit News.
- The homes will range in size from 250 square feet to 400 square feet, and Cass Tiny Homes said it plans to sell them to the previously homeless, as well as low-income students and seniors, on a rent-to-own basis over a seven-year period. Fifty potential residents have already submitted their applications.
- The tiny house development will take up a two-block site, the former location of some of the city's vacant and blighted properties. The Ford Motor Co. Fund has donated $400,000 toward the project, and that amount is included in the $700,000 Cass has raised to date.
A bonus for Cass is the fact that Detroit doesn't have any zoning laws or dwelling size-requirements on the books that prevent building tiny houses. However, company representatives said the city and Cass are learning from each other as they go along.
This is a distinct advantage that many tiny house advocates and would-be developers do not have. Just last month, an Oregon couple was evicted from their 200-square-foot trailer-based home because Portland officials said their set-up violated local zoning laws. Local authorities have classified the house as a mobile home and, even though it was on private property, ordered it to be moved out of the single-family neighborhood.
Fortunately for the tiny house movement, some municipalities are revising or expanding their existing regulations to accommodate tiny houses and other smaller accessory dwellings (ADUs). San Francisco changed its zoning regulations last month to allow storage areas, utility closets and other suitable unused spaces to be converted into apartments. City officials estimated that the new law will add 14,000 residential units to the city's inadequate housing inventory. Washington, DC, has also revised its ADU regulations to allow for the building of small structures in homeowners' backyards. Local officials said they hope the new supply of rentable units will help accommodate the 1,000 new residents moving to the District every month.
Tucson's Pima County, AZ, became one of the biggest names in the tiny house movement when it changed its building regulations to allow the construction of houses of any size where single-family homes are permitted.