Raleigh Planning Commission recommends rules for mini-houses

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Small Homes took another small step towards legality in Raleigh this week.

The city’s planning committee voted unanimously on Tuesday to recommend changing the zoning rules to allow the construction of small houses in Raleigh.

“After working on the mini-house concept for five years, I am delighted to see new rules that will allow mini-houses and potentially mini-house villages to become a new affordable housing choice for our community,” said Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin. “I’m going to ask the city to take the lead on a mini-house pilot project, so we can reinvent housing choices for residents of Raleigh.”

Several members of current city council have campaigned to change Raleigh’s zoning rules, The News & Observer previously reported. They believe the growing shortage of affordable housing in the city can be partly addressed by adding different types of housing to Raleigh.

The council will review the proposed rule change and likely schedule a public hearing for November or December.

If the council approves the changes, mini-houses would be allowed throughout the city. They would be capped at 600 square feet, including any attached garage or carport, which is slightly larger than normal small homes, according to city planning documents. They should meet US Department of Housing and Urban Development standards.

The rules for accessory housing units (ADUs), commonly known as back cabins or grandma’s apartments, were finalized last year after years of debate. Tiny houses can be built now as an ADU.

“I love small spaces”

Dexter Tillet, the owner of Tiny Homes Raleigh, has built his tiny house as a cottage in the backyard and is helping others who wish to follow a similar path.

“I love small spaces,” he said. “I like to maximize your square footage. And also prioritize what is important to you because, for me, a small space really allows you to achieve what you need, what you don’t need. Like what’s important, what isn’t.

The new change would allow small houses to be built as stand-alone buildings or in districts of small houses or cottage yards with shared open space.

And the smaller size means they can be more affordable to build than a traditional single-family home. In August, CNBC reported that the average cost of a small home nationwide was $ 52,000.

This story was originally published October 27, 2021 8:08 am.

Anna Johnson covers Raleigh and Wake County for the News & Observer. She has previously covered city government, crime, and business for newspapers across North Carolina and has received numerous North Carolina Press Association awards, including first place for investigative reporting. She is a 2012 alumnus of Elon University.
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