Council members Seek Innovative Ideas to Address Affordable Housing Problem

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WeeCasa Tiny Home Resort in Lyons (Photo courtesy of Ken Caldwell)

On December 1, council members Polly Christensen and Joan Peck attended the WeeCasa Wee Winter Open House and Tiny Home Tour in Lyons, Colorado.

WeeCasa bills itself as the “World’s Largest Tiny Home Resort”. Its mission is to provide high-end accommodations that highlight the possibilities of living in a Tiny House while enjoying the many outdoor adventures available in the Rocky Mountains.

According to Kenyon Waugh, Wee-EO and Co-Founder of WeeCasa, “the resort was a response to what to do with the property after the devastation of the flood of 2013”.

Prior to the flood, the site served as a mobile home park. Emergency Temporary Zoning allowed the site to accommodate Tiny Homes on Wheels, which would be fully mobile and could be evacuated if necessary with 24-hours notice. One year after opening, the location was assigned Permanent Zoning.

Of the 22 tiny homes offered by WeeCasa, ten were open for the public to tour. And Mayor Pro Tem Polly Christensen and council member Joan Peck were among the crowd taking tours.

 

Joan Peck, Longmont City Council Member; Kenyon Waugh, Wee-EO of WeeCasa; and Polly Christensen, Mayor Pro Tem of Longmont. Kenyon paused while decorating the WeeCasa tiny office for the Lyons Festival of Lights Parade to answer questions about WeeCasa and the Lyons Tiny Houses on Wheels ADU ordinance. (Photo courtesy of Ken Caldwell)

The two council members were on a quest to explore tiny homes as an option for affordable housing in Longmont.

“Tiny houses would never be more than a small part of addressing the issues of affordable housing, but we need to address this crisis from many angles and with many possibilities,” says Christensen.

“I would like them to be able to exist in Longmont in some experimental areas. My concern is with the home-built homes being safe in terms of connections to sewer, electricity, and water. Because they are not on a poured and permanent foundation with secure connections to those utilities, there is always a potential for safety issues. I would like to see them have a place in Longmont with as few regulations as possible. It is one possibility for people to solve their own housing crisis. I realize this would involve a small proportion of people, but it would be important for them and would offer those people affordable homes.”

Christensen also mentions that the Longmont planning department and city council have been revising the land codes and will be revising the design codes this year.

“There are many good changes that can come from thoughtful consideration of land and design codes that could allow more flexibility to both individual homeowners and even larger developers by restoring smaller lot sizes, smaller building sizes, more thoughtful design, etc. I am still trying to educate myself about these building issues, but many in our Planning Department and Housing and Human Services Department are obviously very knowledgeable about this subject,” says Christensen.

Whether this visit to the tiny home resort helped pave the way to Longmont owning its own tiny village is yet to be seen. Christensen is a supporter of there being more housing options when she states, “those who want extravagant homes always have that choice. Those who want to live simply and modestly and want to build equity for their lives should also have a choice.”

Ken Caldwell and Macie May collaborated on this article.


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