Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Rising New Home Costs Will See More Tiny Houses Villages Built

Greenville County in South Carolina faced a situation in applying zoning to a new tiny house village. In fact, there was no applied zoning on the land and a company applied for a permit to build a 74 home village for affordable housing and it was granted.

Neighbors turned out against the community anyway, concerned about the traffic it could bring and the possible environmental issues the septic systems could cause near the drinking water reservoir and that has forced their planning commission to write new rules for tiny house villages. 

But what is happening there is symptomatic of a much bigger problem. Young new home buyers as well as many Boomers are finding it harder to get into affordable single-family homes and are beginning to seek out alternative forms of homeownership.

Related Article: Austin's Tiny Home Village About to Triple in Size

And that brings us back to Greenville County and its new zoning and planning requirements for tiny house villages.

The proposed ordinance would guide projects moving forward and provide a separate section of the land development and zoning rules for tiny home communities, which are now treated like a recreational vehicle or mobile home park. It would allow tiny home pocket neighborhoods of four to 30 homes and would require the lots to be sold rather than leased.

According to the Greenville Post and Courier, the sweet spot would be communities with eight to 16 homes centered around a common area like a courtyard or garden.

Tiny homes are defined as any home with 400 square feet or less of floor area excluding lofts, she said. They may include traditional single-family styles, manufactured or modular homes, and nontraditional buildings like domes and yurts, which are portable circular buildings usually built with poles and covered with fabric.

I'm not sure the tiny house movement has attracted the mainstream modular home industry yet but if Greenville's solution to affordable housing proves attractive to other state and local authorities, it could become a huge win for our industry.

Gary Fleisher is the Managing Director and contributor to the Modcoach Network and its affiliated blogs. Email at

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