Urgent need for amending zoning by-laws to permit the development of tiny homes

Urgent need for amending zoning by-laws to permit the development of tiny homes

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Think Tiny Homes Northumberland started this petition to Northumberland County Council and

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that housing is a basic human right.

In Northumberland County, with soaring housing prices and little to no rental vacancies, our community is experiencing an affordable rental and housing crisis.  

At present, approximately 950 households are on the County’s centralized waitlist for subsidized housing (RGI) in Northumberland with a wait of approximately 10 years to access supportive housing.  As affordability becomes a barrier for many individuals, families and seniors in our municipalities, rental units are disappearing from the market as housing prices surge.

We are at a crossroads in Northumberland: we need to decide who gets to live and work in our county.

The need to invest in and build diverse, innovative and scalable affordable housing in our communities is significant and it has to happen now.

Infill and intensification projects are being encouraged by the provincial government.  So, the question to ask is, “Why isn’t enough housing being built when we know the need is so great?”

Think Tiny Homes Northumberland (TTHN) is a chapter of Habitat for Humanity Northumberland seeking to develop a micro-village of tiny homes (a series of units to address the affordable housing crisis) as an innovative response to the local housing crisis. 

TTHN’s proposed build would involve a single parcel of land developed to accommodate several living spaces in common buildings with shared outdoor space. Such a model allows for a diversity of affordable ownership and community interactions.

Earlier this year, TTHN published a community survey that received 430 responses with only three voicing opposition to tiny homes.  Over two thirds of respondents indicated the main reason for choosing tiny homes is affordability. This was followed closely by “good for the environment” and “retirement”.  Survey respondents favoured  a vision of a village of tiny homes in an urban setting close to amenities and on a permanent foundation with municipal hook up, although “off grid” was a popular second choice.  Many respondents were also interested in designing and building their tiny home on its own lot or living in an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) built on the same property as the main home. Reasons given were to provide housing for family members with a disability, with unstable housing situations and for retired parents.  Finally, many respondents wrote they just want a stable, affordable living situation. As one respondent wrote, “I would love to live in a tiny home. I am retired from the military and finding affordable accommodation is extremely frustrating and impossible.”

I’m signing this petition to call upon elected officials of my local Council to:

  • Identify surplus land that could be suitable for a tiny home development.
  • Welcome partnerships from non-profit housing initiatives like TTHN x Habitat Northumberland to support the implementation of the municipality’s affordable housing strategy.
  • Amend municipal zoning by-laws immediately to allow builds of ADUs starting at 300 square feet and to allow multiple homes (400-700 square feet) to be built on single lots for affordable rental and home ownership purposes.

As a chapter of Habitat for Humanity, TTHN’s focus is committed to coordinating and aligning projects with the County and Municipality’s affordable housing strategies.

By designating municipal land, facilitating strategic partnerships and changing zoning requirements, TTHN through Habitat Northumberland and other non-profit housing providers can build more houses sooner. More people would gain access to living, working and contributing to our county, and such a strategy may play an integral role in increasing the supply of the County’s affordable housing stock. 

In signing this letter I support the vision and mandate of TTHN and I urgently call on Northumberland County Council and all municipal Councils in Northumberland to take immediate action in removing barriers to innovative housing solutions.

0 have signed. Let’s get to 200!
At 200 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!