Walsenburg is Tiny Home Friendly!
FROM Outside Magazine:
Last year, the Walsenburg, Colorado, city council eliminated
a zoning code prohibiting buildings smaller than 600 square feet
in order to make room for tiny homes.
In Colorado, small units could be the solution to a chronic
mountain-town problem: lack of affordable housing for the
people who work there
By: Devon O'Neil Dec 17, 2015
In November 2014, city council members in Walsenburg, Colorado, a crossroads community located 90 miles south of Colorado Springs, eliminated a longstanding zoning code prohibiting residential buildings smaller than 600 square feet. They wanted to make room for so-called tiny homes, the trendy structures that have become popular with everyone from millennials to baby boomers seeking simpler, less cluttered lifestyles.
Tiny homes are often mobile, but Walsenburg’s intention was not to provide year-round RVers a place to plant their Astroturf welcome mats and satellite dishes. Instead, the town wants to attract new taxpaying residents with permanent structures connected to local utilities. Before Walsenburg, only one other town in America had done away with its square-footage minimum: Spur, Texas, a small settlement about 300 miles west of Waco.
In Colorado, the small units could be a solution to a chronic mountain-town problem: lack of affordable housing for the people who work there.
Businesses support the idea because it gives their workers more places to live. Bob Morasko, CEO of Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center in Salida, which employs 400 people, says it’s common to lose employees because they can’t find housing.
“Our vacancy rate is zero,” says Leslie Walker, a longtime Realtor in Salida. “I think tiny homes are a great idea.”
“If you think it’s going to cheapen a community, you’re really quite wrong,” says Dave Roesch, planning and zoning commission chairman in Walsenburg, citing the high-end materials used to build them.
So how much impact can tiny-home subdivisions make in these towns? Roesch believes the additional housing could help grow Walsenburg’s population significantly. Twenty-six hundred people live there, but he’s received calls from potential residents across the U.S. who are interested in moving to town now that the square-footage minimum has been eliminated.
“We have the resources for 30,000,” Roesch says. “The potential is remarkable.”