Tiny houses – homes that be as small as a few hundred square feet – are legal in Decatur, but the idea hasn’t caught on.
One group, Tiny House Atlanta, is hoping to help spark local interest in these downsized dwellings.
The organization will be holding the Decatur Tiny House Festival on July 30 and July 31 in Decatur. The festival will be held at the Beacon Municipal Center, located at 125 Electric Ave. Tickets are $35 for a weekend pass and $20 for a day pass.
According to the event announcement, “Approximately 10 tiny houses will be available to tour, and experts on topics such as sustainability, minimalism, urban planning, zoning, and downsizing will be on hand to answer your questions.”
Tiny houses were made legal in Decatur in 2014, when the Unified Development Ordinance was adopted by the City Commission. The concept is one of the city’s strategies to promote housing affordability within the city limits. The city is even developing a “cottage court” project, building smaller-style family homes that share a common green space, to spur developer interest.
Decatur Planning Director Angela Threadgill said, “A cottage court is defined as a building type designed to accommodate five to nine detached dwellings organized around a shared courtyard. The dwellings can consist of tiny houses, but also larger cottages up to 1,800 square feet in floor area.”
She said before the UDO was adopted, Decatur required homes to have a minimum floor area of 1,500 square feet.
“Decatur learned that if zoning encourages construction of larger homes, we block the chance for affordable housing for low- and moderate-income households,” Threadgill said.
Will Johnston, founder and CEO of Tiny House Atlanta, said while Decatur currently allows tiny homes build on foundations, the zoning codes do not allow tiny homes on wheels because they are considered recreational vehicles. He started Tiny House Atlanta to advocate for tiny housing options in the Atlanta area.
He said he lives in a normal-sized home in Decatur and would like to move into a tiny house on wheels, if the city decides to allow it.
“So another thing [we’re doing] is letting people see these this weekend, so people would see it and, say ‘I wouldn’t mind that in my neighborhood.’,” Johnston said. “It’s all about education and reducing the fear.”