Tiny House park, standards lead to County Council discussion


By Stan Welch
Anderson County Council met last Tuesday at the Anderson Civic Center to allow for compliance with social distancing requirements, scattering chairs across an area the size of several tennis courts.
Several rezoning requests received first reading approval, including one that would rezone a nineteen acre tract on Welpine Road that would allow the construction of 252 multi family units, mostly townhomes. The project’s developers drew effusive praise from District Four Councilman Brett Sanders, who expounded on their proactive way of doing business.
“These people approached me before even going before the planning commission. They presented their ideas to me and we worked together to identify and address potential problems. Ingress and egress onto and off of Interstate Boulevard was one issue they raised. Currently, there is only one way in and out, but they hope to change that. I just can’t say enough about the professional way they do their business.”
Council also gave first reading approval to a proposed incentive package for a developer who is seeking to build a 55,000 square foot spec building in the airport industrial park. The capital investment will be $2.8 million. The building, according to economic development director Burriss Nelson, is a very attractive size for many businesses. “I would anticipate strong response and interest in this site once it is completed.”
The property generated sixty dollars in property taxes last year. If the project goes forward, that amount will increase to $5,335 the first year, with a total of $402,000 in taxes generated over a twenty year period.
Another topic taken up by the council was the issue of tiny houses, essentially housing built for workers moving into the area who are employed by such companies as TTI, and Electrolux. Planning and public works committee chair Cindy Wilson, whose committee met earlier in the day, reported that the committee had discussed the matter and had worked on the standards for the houses, as well as for park model recreational vehicles, manufactured homes, and modular homes.
There is a proposed site for such a park located in District Two, represented by Councilwoman Gracie Floyd, whose objections and questions were both loud and strident. “Are you telling me”, she challenged Wilson,” that you waited until now to set the rules for these tiny houses? After the park has been approved” Is that what you’re telling me?”
Council Chairman Tommy Dunn answered, “No, that’s not it at all.” He fell silent until Floyd said, “Well, are you going to tell me?” “If you ask me, I will,” said Dunn, clearly irritated by Floyd’s attitude and conduct. Wilson stepped in and explained that her committee had simply talked about adding some features to the language about the park. Councilman Sanders interjected that the definition of a tiny house is established in the national building codes.
“We didn’t define anything. The codes are in place and these homes have to meet those codes. They are subject to the same inspection process as a 3000 square foot home.” District Six Councilman Jimmy Davis added that tiny homes are stick built on the site, while park model RVs are moved in later.
Floyd continued to rail against what she sees as the mistreatment of her district, alternately complaining that the county never “gives us anything” or puts (sic, facilities) in her district, while also saying that the Homeland Park area has had enough. There was no action requested on the tiny house issue, and none taken.