Vanderburgh County leaders looking to change housing code for tiny homes

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VANDERBURGH COUNTY, IN (WEHT) – Vanderburgh County leaders are looking to makes changes to an ordinance, making it easier to build tiny houses.

It’s a push to curb homelessness and provide more affordable housing.

The last housing code rewrite was done in the 1960s.

The Area Planning Commission was recently approved for a grant of $250,000 to begin the process of making tiny homes more accessible.

“We’re very excited about it and look forward to getting this process started and getting this done,” says Executive Director Ron London.

Tiny houses are used in communities to create a smaller environmental footprint, greater financial freedom, and a self-sufficient life.

The tiny house movement also addresses social issues including homelessness.

Currently, tiny houses are allowed in Evansville but the process isn’t easy due to codes that haven’t been updated since 1963.

“That’s one of the reasons why we wanted to make sure this code rewrite was done because our current existing codes are so old that they needed to be updated to be able to do these types of things. Right now the minimum square footage allowed on a residential lot by code is 720 square feet if you wish to go under that which you can there are a couple things that you can do,” says London.

That includes applying for a variance which would require a meeting with neighbors to address any concerns.

Or a planned unit development which allows developers to gain permits to meet land use goals without being bound by existing zoning requirements.

London says the goal for the new code rewrite is to make the process easier.

“Well, of course, any regulations that we come up with we want to make sure that it’s easier for the public to be able to do the things that they want but there’s several things that need to be looked at you have to look at the public health, safety and welfare. You also have to look at property rights and values whenever you are doing these and you also have to look at the due process,” says London.

The Area Plan Commission will host its first public meeting later this month for tiny housing developments and other zoning issues.

Officials plan to have the code rewrite completed by the end of this year.

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(This story was originally published on January 8, 2020)

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