Floyd County Commissioners have asked planning department staff to draft regulations that would allow tiny home communities in the unincorporated area.
Tiny homes are single-family residences that are usually 400 to 600 square feet in size. Some are built as recreational vehicles while others follow the building codes for homes.
“Give us the pros and cons on it. Look at it the same way you’re looking at hobby farms and wedding venues,” Commission Chair Scotty Hancock told Rome-Floyd Planning Director Artagus Newell.
None of the land-uses Hancock cited are currently allowed in residential areas, although there numerous lots of more than 20 acres outside the city of Rome.
Special-use permits may be available to house some farm animals or operate a special events venue in a residential zone. The board has asked Newell to come up with a set of standards that can be applied to all cases.
Now they’ve added tiny homes to the list of potential developments.
“Some areas would like to see a tiny home on a lot than maybe a mobile home,” Commissioner Rhonda Wallace said.
Newell said interest has been growing in tiny homes over the past decade and the structures could help address the affordable housing shortage. Many elements, however, are prohibited by the Unified Land Development Code.
“Often when things come in vogue it takes some time to get up to speed ... There’s an issue of trying to fit a new model into old regulations,” Newell said.
For example, the 2012 International Residential Code sets a minimum room size of 120 square feet for houses. But the Georgia Department of Community Affairs said a state amendment now allows rooms as small as 70 square feet.
Georgia also has added an appendix for tiny house construction – but it must be adopted locally to apply.
The Rome City Commission approved a ULDC amendment in 2016 that allows some tiny house communities – called cluster communities – inside the city limits.
Developers may apply for a special-use permit to build up to 10 houses per acre on sites as large as two acres in areas zoned for multi-family construction. The houses can be as large as 400 square feet and must meet standards for site-built or modular homes.
Commissioner Allison Watters’ husband, Ed Watters, owns a gated tiny house community called Little River Escape on Lookout Mountain in Cloudland. She confirmed that interest is high but said she would not weigh in on the County Commission’s plans.
Chattooga County does not have zoning laws.