Burnsville officials are looking to loosen the city’s restrictions on tiny homes following encouragement from a local resident who’s looking to build his own.
“This is a business that’s going to take off,” Burnsville resident Fred Wiese, who plans to make a business out of his own tiny home design, told the Burnsville City Council at a meeting earlier this month.
Weise hopes to build his own accessory home this fall — a goal that’ll require some quick work to amend Burnsville’s ordinance.
In 2018, the Burnsville City Council approved an ordinance to allow accessory dwelling units (ADUs), but the city hasn’t received any related applications to date.
The 1-acre minimum lot size requirement in the ordinance greatly limited who could add an accessory dwelling unit to their property.
At a recent meeting, the Burnsville City Council expressed support for loosening restrictions on which residential properties are allowed to have a detached accessory home, and how large the dwellings can be.
The topic will go before the Burnsville Planning Commission for public hearing sometime this fall before heading to the council for a formal vote.
Weise’s ADU design is made to match his main house. It’ll reside in his backyard, he said, but ADUs can be moved on a trailer.
Burnsville Councilman Dan Gustafson said he believes the pandemic, and resulting economic crisis, will have a lasting impact on lifestyle and housing choices.
Wiese, who began working with ADUs five years ago, believes the pandemic accelerated the need for this type of housing.
“We just went through a paradigm shift on a huge massive scale,” he said.
For aging family members, fears surrounding congregate care outbreaks and possible lock-downs have increased the number of families looking for multi-generational housing options.
The cost of assisted living care represent another reason why families might look instead to ADUs.
Wiese said his parents pay a combined $11,050 per month for assisted living care in Iowa.
But ADUs aren’t just meant for caregiving arrangements, he said.
As office spaces hit the market and more workers learn they’ll permanently work from home, the accessory dwelling unit could also reinvent home offices.
For the younger generation, Wiese said the ADUs could serve as transitional housing for college students or young adults in between jobs.
Weise said the home he hopes to build on his property will serve as a model home for his business before eventually becoming a guest home.
dwellings in Savage In Savage, accessory dwelling units are not allowed.
In 2016, a new Minnesota law took effect to allow for “temporary family health care dwellings,” but Savage officials adopted an ordinance to opt-out.
The dwellings, also known as “drop homes” or “granny pods,” are designed to support caregiving arrangements.
The law allows cities to issue six-month permits to allow residents that require assistance with two or more daily activities to live in a temporary dwelling located on a yard or driveway.
Bryan Tucker, the city’s planning manager, said Savage officials haven’t revisited the topic since.
Tucker said the city recognizes there’s a growing need for housing opportunities, but they have concerns surrounding what happens to the unit once the caregiving arrangement is no longer needed.
Renting the unit out, like a duplex arrangement, would violate zoning requirements.
However, Savage officials will keep monitoring what happens in other cities and could always reevaluate their stance on ADUs, he added.
St. Paul and Eagan are other metro cities currently allowing accessory dwelling units.
Green living Wiese spent years perfecting his ADU design after learning about them in his career as a salesman.
His business, to be called My Green Homes To Go, will emphasize the environmental benefits of tiny-house living.
Wiese said structural insulated panels make the tiny home like “a big, old Yeti cooler” because they maintain heat and air conditioning easily. The panelized styrofoam walls are easy to install and have a solid, insulated core.
Other bells and whistles on Wiese’s design include solar panel shingles. One day, he hopes the power from the solar shingles could be used to charge electric cars.
Units will cost roughly $95,000 to $115,000 and will be delivered or constructed on-site roughly 4 weeks after ordering.
His longterm dream is to see accessory dwelling units all over the country — he hopes Burnsville will be a leader in the trend.
While he envisions many ADU owners keeping the homes permanently in their yards, he believes the use of them will continue expanding.
“Why not have a tiny community in every major metropolitan area?” he said.