Willmar tiny house development may become manufactured home development – West Central Tribune

WILLMAR — Members of the Willmar Planning Commission heard about new plans for a housing development that real estate agent Justin Paffrath is trying to make possible on three lots along 14th Avenue Southeast in Willmar.

Paffrath currently has an agreement with the city to purchase the lots.

The agenda item prior to the Planning Commission’s Nov. 1 meeting was for informational purposes only, with Paffrath gauging the commission’s desire to allow a potential total of nine manufactured homes to be placed on the site instead of the tiny house development for which he originally received a conditional use permit.

In order to require the Planning Commission to make formal amendments to the conditional use permit, Paffrath would have to spend money again to develop official plans for the site.

“This information comes at a great cost,” Paffrath commented. “I can’t afford this expense and be rejected for something like this. I’m looking for some kind of nod of the head, or some kind of indication that it will be approved.”

Although the commission was generally in favor of changes to the conditional use permit, several existing city code requirements were discussed as potential impediments to Paffrath’s plans, including the type of driveway and parking surface required and city rules regarding manufactured homes outside of manufactured home parks.

Paffrath’s current conditional use permit for the site was to build a 16-house tiny house, but soil conditions on the site made tiny house development unfeasible due to the cost of having to use helical piers to support the tiny house structures.

Due to the soil conditions at the site and the additional cost, the Willmar City Council in July approved an amendment to the purchase agreement for the three lots, bringing the price of each lot down to $1,000 each.

The tiny homes would have been owned by individuals and the development would have been subject to a homeowners association agreement.

Its new concept will be similar, where manufactured homes and lots will be owned by individuals and governed by a homeowner’s association agreement, meaning it won’t be a manufactured home park in which homeowners pay rent on a lot — they will own the house and the lot on it. who sits on it.

He noted that the homes he plans to install are not the smallest structures available, and come in two-bedroom, two-bathroom or three-bedroom, one-bathroom designs. The structures will be 16 feet wide, 66 feet long and just over 1,000 square feet. Paffrath provided the Planning Commission with photos and floor plans of the homes.

That may be one hurdle Paffrath has to overcome through a city ordinance, which requires manufactured homes not located in parks to be 24 feet wide. However, it may be permitted with a modified conditional use permit for the development.

The tiny homes Paffrath was planning to develop on the site would have been 400 square feet, and more square footage could have been added with additional levels. Small homes would not have been anywhere near 1,000 square feet, Paffrath noted.

He also explained that the price point for manufactured homes would be lower than what he was trying to do with the tiny home development.

“The goal is entry-level housing. To go and build a house of this size traditionally, it’s very difficult to build a house for only $300,000. So I’m trying to get something done for that amount ($200,000) or less,” Paffrath said.

Commissioner Steve Dressler questioned how placing a manufactured home on a lot instead of a tiny home would eliminate soil conditions from being an issue for development on that site.

When determining the conditions of the property and what would be required to build the tiny houses, Puffrath was told that the houses would require the use of helical piers to support the foundation of the structure due to the poor quality of the soil.

“The manufactured home is on a frame and is designed to roll down the road. So, if you put a house like this on piers… the structure is supported by its own structure,” Paffrath explained. The piers on which manufactured homes are placed help distribute the home’s loads evenly and often They are often built of concrete blocks, leaving crawl space underneath the structure.

This may be another hurdle Paffrath must overcome in order to meet city code, which states that foundations are required for manufactured homes when they are located outside of city manufactured home parks.

The final hurdle is that Paffrath expected to be able to use the covered, but not yet built, city street to access the project. He intended to have a cobblestone street and driveway to the development. The Planning Commission told him he might have to build a whole new street to use for access.

“You may be stuck having to do something more than you think you should,” Dressler said.

“I think if we live in a documented community and we want affordable housing, I think there may be a need to provide housing,” Paffrath commented. He noted that homes throughout the city have gravel driveways.

“We’re not talking about acres of property to come back to…,” he added.

Commissioner Chris Bozzio noted that there has been a conversation between the fire department and the police department about what type of access would be needed for the development.

City Manager Leslie Valiant noted that part of the conditional use permit application is for paving for parking and driving.

Dressler added that he doesn’t want Paffrath to think the Planning Commission is saying “no” to anything, but he must understand that he may be asked to upgrade any development engines or methods beyond what he currently anticipates. able to do.

“But I think it’s important for everyone to understand that — what are we doing to reduce affordable housing?” Paffrath said, wondering what the process would be to be able to deviate from city code regarding driving decks and parking.

Valiant said he could request a variance, which would then go to the Zoning Board of Appeals for approval.

Paffrath said there are so many things the city requires that it piles up so quickly, it makes it difficult to build affordable housing within the city. “Next thing you know, you have an odd $250,000,” he said.

He said he would like to see some changes made to make it easier to build affordable housing to meet the city’s housing needs.

(tags for translation) Affordable Housing Willmar

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