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New Company Sees Market for Tiny Houses in Urban Columbus

Brent Warren Brent Warren New Company Sees Market for Tiny Houses in Urban ColumbusFront home build by Modern Tiny Living, back home build by Heart of it All Home — Photo via Modern Tiny Living.
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Modern Tiny Living is a new Central Ohio company poised to capitalize on the recent, HGTV-fueled wave of interest in small houses. With two custom houses completed, another two under construction, and an “insane amount” of local inquiries into the product, company founder Daniel Hamilton is bullish on the market here for houses that clock in at 800 square feet or less.

And while much of the interest so far has been from people looking for rural living — lots to build on are plentiful and regulations are friendlier in places like Morrow County, north of Columbus — Hamilton is confident that it’s only a matter of time before tiny homes start springing up in urban neighborhoods.

“I’m sure we’ll build something on a foundation in the city,” he said. “A few people have said they were interested… it’s just a matter of making it work, since every neighborhood is different in terms of style and historical guidelines.”

When Hamilton spoke with Metropreneur recently about the business, he said that interest so far was coming mostly from millennials and empty nesters, a demographic mix familiar to anyone who follows the urban apartment and condo market.

Anthony J Celebrezze, Assistant Director of the Department of Building and Zoning Services, said that there are actually a fair number of options for tiny homes under the city’s zoning code and the state’s building code.

“The most prevalent residential zoning districts throughout the city require either no minimum house size or require a minimum of 720 square feet,” he said. As for state code, the requirement is that every dwelling contain at least one 120 square-foot room.

“Should a tiny house come in conflict with one of these parameters there is always the option of a variance,” added Celebrezze. And if a tiny home is built on wheels instead of on a foundation, it would fall under a different classification entirely — as a mobile home or trailer. “Many of the tiny houses we have seen in the past have actually been trailers or mobile homes.”

A proposal submitted to the Italian Village Commission this month may be further proof that the concept has legs — Flying Ace Rentals wants to build a seven-structure “tiny house village” at 273 East Greenwood Avenue, in the northeast corner of the neighborhood.

Ross and Kathy Rhinehart of Flying Ace said that the plan is still very conceptual – they hope to get feedback from the commission on whether it would be considered a good fit for the neighborhood. They also plan to meet with Building and Zoning Services soon to discuss the idea.

For more information, visit www.moderntinyliving.com.

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