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Pine Bluff working to make tiny homes legal in the city

Finding a house in your price range can be a challenge for some people, but city leaders in Pine Bluff believe tiny homes are the affordable answer.

PINE BLUFF, Ark. — Smaller houses is something Pine Bluff is looking into.

The structures known as "tiny homes" usually measure from 200 feet to 600 feet.

As of now, Ward 4 City Councilman Bruce Lockett said people can't legally call that a home.

"What I don't want is tiny houses to impact the property value of people with nice sized homes," Lockett said.

The idea to make these smaller homes legal is something that was proposed to the city council this year. 

Lockett said before decisions can move forward, the city's planning and development committee needs to hear more research.

"[The proposal] didn't allow enough [of], what we believe, local input for people that may not want tiny houses, and we don't want to force something on people," Lockett said.

Ward 1 Council Woman Joni Alexander believes these homes could be built on properties not currently being used.

Alexander said this could allow for more affordable homes in Pine Bluff.

"We could have new developments that could benefit our transplants in our community, like our college students, our first-time homeowners, and people who would just like to downsize," Alexander said.

Her biggest concern now is making sure that things are done correctly.

"You [can't] have people putting random structures, like storage buildings, and saying that is their home. Do I want to see a tiny house pop up in a residential neighborhood [that] is in vacant lots all over town? No," Alexander said.

Both she and Lockett are relying on Pine Bluff's zoning and inspection department to create ordinances that allow for people to legally call these structures their homes.

They also want to make sure that citizens follow existing housing codes.

"This is not going to be a situation where you can go to Lowe's and get a storage building, and then somehow say it's a house," Lockett said. "We definitely want people to buy house plans and prefabrication structures."

Lockett added the Pine Bluff planning commission will meet on Tuesday, February 22, to hear from zoning and inspection officials on how they are working to make these tiny homes legal and maintained properly.

    

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