Fulton Co. wants developers to ‘think small,’ with new tiny homes project

Published: Jul. 6, 2022 at 6:42 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - Some metro leaders are pushing for developers to think small. A tiny home project coming to Fulton County is set to help people in the most vulnerable populations.

As inflation, rent, and home sales soar across Atlanta, Fulton County Chairman Rob Pitts is hoping a new pilot program could be one solution to affordable housing.

“Be more creative, more visionary, on how we address the issue of housing. And people talk about it in terms of affordable housing, but that’s only a part of it.” Pitts continued, “People are also downsizing.”

Drawing inspiration from tiny home festivals, tv shows, and efforts on the west coast, the county aims to shrink its affordable housing crisis.

“This is a way to fulfill that need.” He explained, “Time has come, this is it. We’re ready to go.”

The chairman confirmed they are expecting to use county land and a grant of $1 million to have about a dozen tiny homes built. A pilot program with residents who are either homeless, on fixed income, elderly, or a veteran.

“I would be thrilled if we could have a project up and running no later than the first of 2023,” added Pitts.

The container-like homes, potentially done in six months, would be a part of a push to change the minimum square footage required by local zoning regulations. A tall order to get more developers to think small, says John Hunt with MarketNsight.

“It’s a struggle to be honest with you.” The Atlanta housing expert says, “because we’re stuck in our way-- stuck when it comes to zoning.”

Hunt argues far too often builders target traditional construction while the two largest buyer demographics, millennials and boomers, no longer want those big homes, big backyards.

“Changing the zoning laws to allow for small products to be built, which allows for higher density, which is your price point now.” Adding, “it’s the way people want to live today.”

Chairman Pitts echoed, “there is a need, there is a market and therefore it’s going to blossom.”

Should the pilot project be successful in Fulton County, leaders say they would expand by working alongside nonprofits, businesses, and churches to offer multiple tiny home communities.

For more information on tiny homes, visit the Georgia Department of Community Affairs fact sheet.