Georgia’s first ‘tiny home neighborhood’ coming to metro Atlanta

Eight homes. On half an acre.

Yes, you read that correctly, and it’s about to become reality. The first “tiny home neighborhood” in Georgia is coming to the small city of Clarkston, city officials said.

The DeKalb County suburb approved “The Cottages on Vaughan” at a Tuesday night City Council meeting. Situated one block from downtown Clarkston, the eight homes will be built on permanent foundations on the half-acre lot.

They will range in size from about 250 to 500 square feet, the city said in a statement. For comparison, the median size of a newly built American single-family home was about 2,400 square feet in 2017, according to census data.

Atlanta-based nonprofit The MicroLife Institute is the developer on the project. The homes will cost between $100,000 and $125,000, MicroLife Institute co-founder Kim Bucciero told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The developers will have a more specific cost estimate by late summer, when the homes go up for presale. They hope to open the neighborhood late this year.

That price is significantly lower than the median home price in DeKalb County, which is about $285,000, according to an analysis by Re/Max issued last month. The average home price in Clarkston is $193,500, according to real estate database Zillow.

The city passed a tiny home ordinance in August 2017. (Photo: The MicroLife Institute)

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The homes will have covered porches and a studio-like feel inside — one bedroom, one bathroom and an open space that includes a kitchen, dining area and living space. They also have storage space in a loft. Outside, the homes have lawns and a shared green space and fire pit.

“These are modeled after historic bungalows. They are designed really well to feel spacious inside,” Bucciero said.

Bucciero said the Clarkston development will be the first neighborhood of homes under 500 square feet to be sold in Georgia. Having the tiny homes on a foundation and grouping them into a “pocket neighborhood” is what makes the development unique, according to MicroLife Institute.

A floor plan for the 500-square-foot "tiny homes" in Clarkston. (Photo: The MicroLife Institute)

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There are other metro projects that also incorporate tiny homes. In the South Fulton city of East Point, a community of 40 homes ranging from 500 to 1,000 square feet is planned on a 7.7-acre tract of land. The City Council approved the “Eco Cottages at East Point” project, but it has been delayed due to budget constraints and likely will not be built until next year, said Bucciero, who is also a developer on that neighborhood.

The Pinewood Forest development in Fayetteville has some tiny homes, but they are being leased and are not for sale, Bucciero said. There are also a number of “house on wheel” communities across the state, but those are legally considered RVs rather than a permanent neighborhood, she said.

“We recognize that the past 50 years of urban sprawl has segregated communities, contributed to global warming, and exacerbated housing inequality,” Clarkston Mayor Ted Terry said in a statement. “By experimenting and innovating with new development ordinances, we are able to allow a greater range of housing options.”

VIDEO: 5 things to know about DeKalb County

According to the city, more than 80 percent of its current housing stock is 1970s-era apartment complexes.

For cities to have tiny homes, they generally must change their zoning code to allow for them. Clarkston passed a tiny-home ordinance in August 2017, and is currently in the process of considering a larger revision of its zoning code.

The MicroLife Institute encourages the development of walkable, “micro-hood” communities.

This Saturday and Sunday, fans of smaller living are set to flock to Atlantic Station for the Tiny House Festival. More than 20 tiny houses, shipping container homes and school bus homes will be available to tour.

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This came after a Channel 2 Action News investigation.