BLUE RIDGE, Ga – After continued discussion on the matter, Fannin County Commissioners opted to extend the tiny home subdivision moratorium until 2022.
Tiny homes can be on wheels or on a foundation and have risen in popularity recently. The “tiny life” movement is focused on living with less and creating a more efficient space. In addition to the minimalist lifestyle, some want tiny homes to house people who couldn’t afford a regular size house.
The board plans on learning more about tiny homes and holding another public hearing on the matter.
At the Tuesday commission meeting, the majority of those in attendance were against tiny home subdivisions entering Fannin County. They worried about a tiny home community spoiling the beauty of Fannin County and unexpected consequences associated with those subdivisions.
“People come up here to get away from everything. If you bring a lot of small homes, especially like a subdivision on 96 acres, on a third of an acre, build 350 houses, that dump at least 350 cars on side roads…that’s just one spot in the county,” resident Tim Stanton stated.
They’re also worried these subdivisions would be used as cabin rentals, not permanent residents who need affordable housing options. Rentals would bring new people in and out on a daily basis, which could stretch public safety even thin.
“That land is precious to us too because we grew up on that land,” Post One Johnny Scearce added. “We got to do some kind of controlled growth on that. Our water is very precious up here to us. We’re going to do everything we can within our power to see that we do as much protection of it and our citizens.”
One individual in attendance was in favor of tiny homes.
“I don’t understand the stigma of a tiny home being less than the $1 million home my brother lives in,” Tommy Williams said. “It could be run down, windows busted out, and a chicken house comes in and say I’m going to put chickens in this house, then that would bring the property value down…My point is why is there a stigma attached to it.”
The moratorium applies to any type of tiny home subdivision either on water, sewer, septic, DNR approved wells, or self-contained units.
Private citizens who want to build one tiny home on their property can do so, but they still must meet the land requirements for the structure. Subdivisions are considered three or more lots in size.
A moratorium on tiny home subdivisions has been in place for approximately two years. Previous boards have continued the measure to try and come to a consensus on the issue.
A tiny home is defined as 400 sq. ft. or less by the state of Georgia and ICC. This dictates building codes for the structure. A residential house requires 200 sq. ft. per person, so a tiny home can accommodate two people. It’s not meant to house more than two.
“Just because you’re doing a tiny home, we’re not going to change the lot size,” County Building inspector Keith Nicholson explained at the public hearing on August 17. “You still have to have so much land to put in a septic tank and an individual well on private property. Typically, depending on your soil samples, that’s anywhere from an acre and a quarter up to an acre and a half.”
Septic fill lines must be 100 feet away from the drinking water source.
Sometimes the price per square foot for a tiny home is more costly than a regular house.
Any unit on a piece of property would need its own septic tank. A well could be shared. Subdivisions with shared wells are considered EPD wells. DNR-approved wells are approved through the state.
Many are worried a tiny home community will become an eye-sore if specific guidelines aren’t put into place ahead of time.
Fannin’s currently in the middle of rewriting several ordinances, and the tiny home issue will hopefully be addressed.
All commissioners have expressed an interest in hearing both sides of the argument for and against tiny homes.
“I’m open to listening. I see a dilemma. There’s a lot of things to look at as far as economic structure and how it will affect Fannin County,” Post Two Glenn Patterson stated. “I’d just like to see more time to look at it…have a moratorium till we feel like we’ve got [an ordinance] that works.”
The moratorium will last until the first meeting in January 2022.