Bay Roberts council open to idea of ‘Tiny Homes’

By Olivia Bradbury / Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Bay Roberts is joining the list of towns willing to consider the idea of allowing ‘tiny homes’ to alleviate pressure for more housing.

Tiny homes are a fairly recent phenomenon. The dwellings are much smaller and simpler than average family homes, but still include the basic amenities needed for living. Advocates argue the homes take up less land, thereby potentially allowing a greater number of people to be housed using less area, and are less expensive to build.

Council first discussed the subject at its private committee of the whole meeting and addressed it again at the public meeting on Tuesday.

“I think lot sizes are a little large, especially now with the housing crisis,” said councillor Silas Badcock. “This could be a start to checking out our policies and lot sizes and probably making them a little smaller.”

At present, Bay Roberts has no regulations in place to allow tiny homes.

“We would likely be seeing some regulations about them when we redo our municipal plan,” said Chief Administrative Officer Nigel Black. “But at this point in time, they’re not allowed based on our development regulations.”

Black acknowledged tiny home development is on its way to Bay Roberts and other towns, but regulations are needed before anyone can commit to it.

Councillor Dean Franey cited Stephenville as a town that has put in place regulations for tiny homes. He speculated about what would determine whether a tiny home would get a permit if it was proposed in a town with regulations already in place.

Mayor Walter Yetman also had questions.

“In the towns, are they going to designate a certain area for tiny homes?” he asked.

Yetman also wondered whether anything can be done so that tiny homes do not lower the value of standard-sized lots. He conceded tiny homes could allow for denser housing, and that Bay Roberts could make more use of its land.

“A landowner or developer could end up using land that was probably turned down to put a full-size house on it,” agreed councillor Perry Bowering.
That might allow for less land being wasted, he said.

“We can be prepared to deal with this when we do our town plan, or prior to that we can come up with a new regulation to suit this,” said Mayor Yetman. “But I applaud the move to denser housing. For sure we need more of it, but right now we are not ready for it.”

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