CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The proposed Keyo Park West tiny home development in northwest Charlotte is feeling a big pushback from neighbors in the area.
A memo from the desk of the city council manager explains that, “Concerns have been raised specific to the size of the homes to be constructed in this development relative to the size of existing homes and the potential impact to the character of the neighborhood.”
The memo says council members and other elected officials met with concerned neighbors at an organized community meeting on August 30. They say, in addition, neighbors have expressed their concerns at City Council’s public forums on September 25 and October 2. Now, the council says they plan to conduct an additional review on November 13.
Earlier this year, developer Kelvin Young built a model home less than 500 square feet in size on Cathey Road in northwest Charlotte. He says he took his time perfecting the design and even though it is tight on space, he wanted to make sure not to cut any corners on style.
The 18.9-acre site will have 56 lots ranging from 493 to 1,000 square feet, starting at just under $90,000. Buyers can also arrange to have an access dwelling built in their yard to house a studio or an in-law suite. Young's first open house in August attracted over 1,000 potential buyers. He says he has already sold 21 lots.
"It's expensive to live now. The average house is now is $300,000. The average one-bedroom rent is $1100. That's a lot of money," said Young.
In recent years tiny homes have been popular among newlyweds and retirees, in part because of their affordability.
“It’s just me now, you know, my son has moved out and there’s really nothing for me to stay in Arizona for and I want to downsize,” said Mary Lou Lorenzen, who drove from Arizona to view the home.
Lorenzen says she plans to retire soon and the price is appealing.
“Price-wise I think it’s very affordable for certain people, and like I said, especially for people who are retiring,” she said.
But neighbors who live nearby say they fear the tiny homes could affect home values, which currently range from $175,000 to $250,000.
“You know change is hard sometimes but it’s hard to see so many coming in such a small area,” said Glenn Gurley, Jr. who lives nearby.
He says he doesn’t have plans of selling anytime soon, but has watched as "for sale" signs have started to pop up across his community.
“A little bit disappointed because some of my close neighbors are moving. I’m hoping it won’t go forward, but if it does I wish the best,” said Gurley.
Young says nobody from Charlotte City Council has reached out to him and he’s following building codes. As it is now, the Charlotte zoning ordinance has no minimum square footage requirement for single-family dwelling units, as long as the unit is built to state building code standards.
The site is zoned R3, which allows three single-family homes per acre.
“It’s a single-family home. It doesn’t matter if you call it tiny, micro, small, it’s still a single-family home. They still have to be architecturally sound and go through permitting,” said Young.
The city says Young has not yet submitted official plans for the development. Young says that’s because he’s building the community around the buyers.
“Instead of just building something and saying, ‘come,’ we’re getting their input and they can say, ‘hey, we would like a dog park, we would like a community garden,’ those type things, so things are going to change because these are things people want to do. And they’re fine with me taking my time and putting it together to submit because they want it to be what they want,” said Young.