Are tiny homes Augusta’s answer for affordable housing?

Published: Aug. 19, 2022 at 9:02 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Tiny homes as an affordable housing option have been a discussion in Augusta for years.

This week, it’s a reality.

Commissioners passed the ordinance, but that doesn’t mean just anybody will be able to build or even own a tiny home.

The ordinance mainly lays out the legal building limits of the homes. Most importantly, though, it states “every tiny house must be within in a village.”

So, you can’t just build one in your backyard.

As for the timeline, it’s going to be a while before we see tiny homes in Augusta.

“It’s not going to be something that’s jumped on right away,” said Commissioner of District 2 Dennis Williams.

Generally, 400 square feet or less, no taller than one and a half stories, a minimum of five units packed in per acre of land.

All to emphasize the village setting.

Something any developer that decides to accept these conditions must consider if tiny homes have a home in Augusta.

“It gives a firmer advantage to a developer knowing where he’s getting into,” said Williams.

It will be a slow process that seeps into the next term of leadership.

One of the biggest issues that some commissioners say is they have no idea where this village would fit or who wants it nearby.

Commissioner of District 3 Catherine Smith-McKnight said: “I’m thinking in my district three, I’m not sure where that would go.”

Mcknight is also worried about the cap price tag of $200,000, which she says is closer to nearby regular-sized market value, compared to affordable housing.

Commissioner of District 9 Francine Scott said: “Is the extreme high, but I think if you can go somewhere in the middle range to affordable, I think it would be good.”

We also spoke with Mayor-elect Garnett Johnson, who wants to have the village in a location where it won’t bring down nearby property values.

He wants the housing to be more on the affordable side, rather than closer to the $200,000 cap.