So-called ‘Tiny Houses’, ‘Granny Pods’, and the like, may be all the rage in the lower 48, but before they catch on in Wasilla, city council member Stuart Graham wants the planning commission to take a look at their impact.
Graham proposed a ordinance debated and voted on Monday night that would put a moratorium on all new construction of any house under 1,000 square feet until no later than February 28, 2017.
Graham said that, to date, there is only one ‘tiny house’ in city limits, and said the point of the measure was to “ask the planning commission to consider how we want to fit them into the code.”
Initial resistance came from council member Tim Burney, who questioned the ordinance, as a matter of principle.
“I have an issue with the government taking on another regulation,” he said. “We’re talking about private property rights here… How far do we take this?”
The debate then turned to the minimum size, and how small is small? Graham said the 1,000 square foot number was recommended by the city planner.
He said zoning regulations are already in place for trailers, but this additional measure is needed to adapt to “new methods of construction.”
Burney then made an amendment to reduce the size in question to 500 square feet.
“There’s homes out there that are 700, 800, 900 square feet where I think you can still have an architecturally pleasing façade and look with a smaller house,” Burney contended. “A thousand square feet is not that small of a house.”
The vote to amend to 500 feet failed 3-2, but council member James Harvey offered his own amendment at 700 feet, which passed 4-1.
Voting on the ordinance itself passed unanimously with council member Colleen Sullivan-Leonard absent.