Tiny cottage homes coming to the backyards and alleyways of Old Town Clovis

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Thursday, September 13, 2018
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The Cottage Home Project in Old Town Clovis has generated a great deal of interest, proving bigger isn't always better.

CLOVIS, Calif. (KFSN) -- Developers continue to build new neighborhoods with large family homes. But in Old Town Clovis, the trend is moving towards tiny houses.

The Cottage Home Project in Old Town Clovis has generated a great deal of interest, proving bigger isn't always better.

Scott January had a 372 square foot home built next to his father's house. It comes with everything you need: a bedroom, a bathroom, and a kitchen.

January said, "You're basically building another house on an existing piece of property so really how could you go wrong."

Debris and weeds can often fill the alleys around Old Town.

Planning Director Dwight Kroll said the city project was designed to help clean up the area while giving homeowners additional living space or rental units.

Kroll explained, "Actually make alleys kind of pedestrian streets and see if we can improve our housing stock."

To qualify the property must be within the Old Town Cottage Home Program. You must have alley and utility access as well space for the unit and a parking space.

Planning Tech Maria Spera said, "We have 11 permits that have been pulled for building, and we have seven permits that are in the building process at the moment."

The program offers three models to choose from. All under 500 square feet with an estimated cost between $65,000 and $80,000.

January said of the program, "You save on the permits, and the plans are free which is probably I'm guessing about $8,500, $9,000."

Scott figures by doing some of the work himself, he ended up spending $55,000 to build his unit. Now he has a new rental or perhaps in the future, space for someone to help care for his dad.

January said, "They want more rental properties in Old Town Clovis which I understand but, you know, the property values are going to go up too so our taxes will go up so it's good for them, but it's also good for us."

The vision of bringing something new to an old neighborhood is taking shape every other block.

Kroll added, "As we start to see these things get put together we realized you could get young professionals in here. They could be AirBNBs."

Kroll said over 300 homes qualify for the Cottage Home Project.

Clovis could possibly expand the program outside of Old Town. The program has already drawn the interest of other city officials in Santa Barbara and Modesto.