Commissioner makes pitch for affordable housing in Wildwood

Tiny houses, which are less than 1,000 square feet, could provide a mechanism for more affordable housing in Wildwood.

Julian Green

Commissioners watched a video on a Detroit tiny house community and heard the first reading of an ordinance to regulate them.

“I’m hoping we can make them affordable,” said Commissioner Julian Green, who presented the video.

He said the Wildwood’s median wage is $43,000 while the average home price has risen to $190,000 from $60,000 in 2000, forcing some residents to move elsewhere.

In Detroit, which was featured in the video, the houses were built with volunteers, like Habitat for Humanity homes, and offered at low rents of $1 to $5 per square foot. Renters would become owners after five years.

Development services director Melanie Peavy said she has been contacted by three tiny house developers and their homes are priced from $60,000 to $100,000.

“We definitely want to entertain developers who come in with this idea,” she said.

The proposed ordinance would regulate tiny house communities, also called pocket neighborhoods of four to 12 homes. It would discourage tiny houses on wheels and favor those that are built on site.

A tiny house movement is attracting people who want to reduce their housing costs and downsize from typical homes.

Tiny houses usually are studios or one-bedroom homes, often with a loft bedroom.