Manufactured and tiny homes allowed as housing crisis grows
Some cities have been looking for ways to allow tiny homes and manufactured housing to thrive. For instance, New York City is building its first micro-apartment building, and Portland has been working with the Simply Home community to come up with a workaround. However, some cities are not as willing to allow tiny or manufactured homes because of zoning restrictions. Listed below are some cities that have embraced policy solutions to allow manufactured and tiny homes to thrive.
New York City’s first micro apartment building
The construction of New York City’s first micro apartment building has been met with a flurry of excitement. In its first year, the project has drawn the interest of hundreds of people. With only fourteen affordable units, My Micro NY is sure to be a hit with residents. The development company, Monadnock Development, won a competition to develop micro apartments that would address the growing demand for affordable one-person apartments in New York City.
Monadnock Development, the developer behind the Carmel Place micro apartment development, first proposed the project in 2013 under the name My Micro NY.
Because New York City has an escalating single-person population, and rents continue to climb, the city approved Carmel Place and granted it a waiver of its requirement that new apartment buildings be 400 square feet or larger. The developer, Monadnock Development, partnered with the Lower East Side People’s Mutual Housing Association to construct the project. According to Monadnock’s Frank Dubinsky, the project has gained approval from the city. As the first micro apartment building in New York, Carmel Place is a success and will surely spur other developers to build similar projects.
The micro units are designed to create a sense of comfort and spaciousness despite their small size. The designers used the same principles as in traditional buildings but focused on maximizing volume, light, and views, with the added benefit of high ceilings that reach nine feet six inches high. The living space is also equipped with a Juliet balcony. The eight-floor lounge opens onto a roof deck where residents can barbecue with friends.
Carmel Place is a 55-unit modular building in the Kips Bay section of Manhattan.
Carmel Place originally called MyMicro, this micro-housing development has been the city’s first micro apartment building. The tiny apartments range in size from 260 square feet to 370 square feet. The building was designed by nArchitects, which won a competition aimed at addressing the city’s rapidly growing one-person household population. The units were fabricated at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and assembled on the site in Kips Bay.
The project is underway, with units being built off-site at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. A team of 50 workers is building the units. Once built, they will be shipped to the construction site at 335 East 27th Street. Once finished, the construction of the building is expected to be completed in a year or less. The project is a collaborative effort between the NARCHITECTS firm and stage 3 properties.
As the market for rental units in New York City continues to grow, it is important to find ways to reduce rent prices. The My Micro NY project manager told AM New York that rentals should begin by the end of the year. The micro-apartment building will have 55 units, with 33 units being market-rate and 22 affordable. Rents are expected to be between $2,000 and $2,920 per month. Compared to the average price of a studio apartment in Murray Hill and Gramercy, My Micro NY’s rents are not that expensive.
Portland’s willingness to find a work-around for the Simply Home residents
If the housing market in Portland is anything like the rest of the nation, the Right 2 Root plan could act as a sluice gate, funneling investment away from luxury remodels and toward affordable new housing. This distinction doesn’t exist in Vancouver or Minneapolis, two cities with similar housing policies. Meanwhile, Seattle has banned new housing from driveways of most primary homes, which could be a boon to many in the city.
Many Portland residents are angry with their elected leaders and frustrated by their lack of urgency in responding to the homeless situation. They point to an increase last year and a spike in tragedy in Portland, Oregon. While the city’s public housing authority was unable to get these vouchers to renters, it appears that its willingness to find a workaround for the Simply Home residents has been praised by a coalition of organizations, including People for Portland.
In the end, Portland’s strangeness is not from outside its borders, but rather from within it. After the financial crisis hit the country, many young college graduates delayed starting their lives. They were worried about jobs, houses, and families, but instead moved to cool cities to wait out the recession. For example, William Frey, a demographer at Brookings Institution, notes that “educationally-educated young people abandoned cities like Phoenix and Atlanta and moved to Austin, Texas.
Despite the city’s opposition, the new housing policy aims to make it easier for new affordable housing to be built in the city. It is not just about the Fair Housing Act, which has long been criticized by some citizens. The issue is about the diversity of housing prices and types. Fortunately, Portland’s reform follows the lead of other cities like Minneapolis and Vancouver.
Delaware’s zoning requirements for manufactured and tiny homes
While many states have passed legislation allowing for the construction of tiny homes, not all municipalities have adopted specific regulations for them. In Delaware, small houses that are less than 400 square feet must meet certain construction requirements and adhere to zoning laws. This is particularly important in the town of Lewes, where tiny houses are prohibited by law. For this reason, the next generation of homeowners may demand changes in the state’s tiny home regulations.
In addition to zoning regulations, tiny homes built on a permanent foundation fall under the same rules as traditional houses. However, THOWS are portable homes that do not require a permanent foundation and are therefore not subject to the same zoning requirements as new houses. Likewise, tiny homes assembled off-site must meet a few requirements. These include: the size of one room (120 square feet or less), the number of windows and doors, and a fire exit.
In addition to building codes, tiny homes on wheels must meet the requirements of the State Department of Motor Vehicles. They must meet the regulations for small vehicles, but are still considered mobile homes. In Delaware, it costs $35 plus three and a half percent of the value to titling them. This fee may be waived for homes on land purchased prior to the ordinance’s effective date, and if the lot is more than 30,000 square feet.
The state of Delaware has passed laws that allow for the construction of manufactured and tiny houses, but these regulations haven’t kept up with the trend. In Wilmington, for example, building codes don’t allow for tiny homes that are less than 150 square feet. That means that tiny homes can’t fit in some communities. If you are interested in building a tiny home, check with local municipal government and follow the laws in your town.
The State of Delaware requires manufactured and tiny homes to meet certain minimum standards.
However, some municipalities also require that they be built on permanent foundations. Additionally, these tiny homes are only allowed to stay on a property for 180 days. If you are in Delaware and have already purchased land, it is important to seek preapproval for the project. Despite the gray area surrounding tiny homes, these homes must undergo zoning inspections to ensure they are built according to code and are safe.
While Delaware isn’t the most welcoming state to tiny homes, it is becoming more popular.
Some manufactured and tiny homes allowed are still to be evaluated before being permitted. There are some towns in the state that permit the construction of tiny homes over a fixed foundation, but many of these municipalities have yet to implement any kind of restrictions or zoning laws. Ultimately, these rules vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and it’s important to check with local agencies in the area of interest before building or moving in.
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Provided by Antonio Westley
Disclaimer: This article is meant to be seen as an overview of this subject and not a reflection of viewpoints or opinions as nothing is definitive. So, make sure to do your research and feel free to use this information at your own discretion.