GRANGEVILLE – Looking to downsize? A tiny house is an option, one that is open within Grangeville city limits. But it does come with some conditions.
“We’ve had a couple of council people and city hall staff contacted about tiny houses in town,” said mayor Wes Lester, speaking at the Dec. 16 council meeting.
“Right now, we have nothing in city code that tells you how big a house you have to build,” said city administrator Tonya Kennedy. “Right now, someone could build any size house they want, whether teeny tiny or great big, as long as it meets the lot requirements of the city.”
According to Realtor.com, tiny homes are between 100 and 400 square feet, and they rarely exceed 500 square feet. For reference, the median size of a new single-family home sold in 2015 was 2,520 square feet, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Kennedy generally outlined guidelines for tiny houses to the council, noting that for prefabricated homes approved by the State of Idaho, if they come in on wheels, these are considered recreational vehicles and can only be located within a manufactured housing park. If placed on a foundation, these can go on any lot in town, as they are considered a house. A tiny house can also be built from scratch on the property, which requires a building permit, and can go anywhere, again, as long as it is on a foundation.
Both Lester and councilor Scott Winkler questioned on the number of houses that could be put on a lot.
“In city code we already have a section that says you can’t have more than one house on a lot,” Kennedy said. “So, if you build a tiny house on a 20,000 square foot lot, that’s your one house. Unless you split the lot, depending on the subdivision requirements, you could do that.” She continued that multiple tiny houses could be placed within an established manufactured home park, such as the Elkhorn.
“Is anybody thinking of doing this?” questioned councilor Pete Lane. Kennedy replied that no one has bought a state-approved tiny house; however, they may have people within the city considering converting sheds into a tiny house, which again, would run through the building permit process.
As for existing tiny homes, councilor Michael Peterson said there are three within his neighborhood.
“They’re nice, but they’re tiny,” he said. “They have a patio door as their front door. You walk right in to the living room, and the bedroom is in back. If someone wants to live there, that’s fine.”
In other council business:
Council unanimously approved a $49,301.64 purchase of a Generac generator to provide backup power for Park Well in the event of an outage.
“We’ve got to do it or DEQ is going to be unhappy,” said public works director Bob Mager. “And it makes good sense. This puts three wells online [with backup power generators], and now that the old girl is pumping at 850 gallons per minute, we ought to get it going.”