While Rome-Floyd County [Georgia] Planning officials try to sort out issues related to the growth of the tiny-home industry, Rome businessman Ed Watters’ Little River Escape tiny-home community on Lookout Mountain in Chattooga County is finally beginning to pick up momentum. [Note: although the article refers to it as a tiny home community, Watters website makes a point of saying their park models are designed exclusively for part-time recreational use.]
Watters revealed plans for his tiny-home community along the East Fork of the Little River in April 2015. More than a year later, six homes are planted firmly on lots in phase one of the development.
Meanwhile, Rome-Floyd County Planning Director Sue Hiller said her office would probably take another month to try to address the growing interest in tiny homes, which are typically 400 to 600 square feet.
“We’ve had requests from people about trying to do tiny-home communities that would be upscale and tiny-home communities that would be affordable housing,” Hiller said. “The idea is they would be pretty high density development.”
Issues from a planning perspective involve the quality of the construction and how the small domiciles are used.
She said the tiny homes could be built as recreational vehicles for very temporary shelter. They can be built to the same standards as a mobile home or they can be built to single-family, industrial modular standards. The latter could essentially be used the same way as any other single-family dwelling.
Hiller said the larger issue involves standards for lot sizes and setbacks, but the more clustered, higher density development areas ideal for the tiny homes also need to be discussed.
Watters did not have to deal with any of those issues on the mountain near Cloudland because Chattooga County doesn’t have any zoning in the unincorporated areas of the county.
To make his Little River Escape plans work, basically all he had to do was make sure he could get approval for septic tanks from the health department.
Watters said he learned he would have to get U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approval if he disturbed more than one acre — which is why the lot size was set at three-quarters of an acre.