Essex Council Mulling Over Tiny Homes Bylaw

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The ball is rolling on getting a bylaw in place to allow tiny homes in Essex.

With the real estate market becoming unaffordable for many, council has been pushing the issue to provide more housing options within the town.

A recent survey of Essex residents found 64% would consider building a secondary dwelling if permitted with many stating they'd like to provide accommodations for aging parents or older children.

Councillor Steve Bjorkman says, if put in the right place, tiny homes can work.

"I think it's a tremendous idea for our rural areas and our agricultural," says Bjorkman.  "There are a lot of people with lots of room out here. There's demand for rentals and if we keep them to a reasonable size they'll rent."

Councillor Chris Vander Doelen says the regulations shouldn't be too restrictive.

"I'm just a little bit worried it might be too complex and a lot of people are going to be disappointed when they find out they can't do this," says Vander Doelen.  "There's going to be some bumps along the way with this, but it's better than not doing this. We need to do this and some people have been advocating that this change be made for almost a quarter of a century. So it's overdue."

Deputy mayor Richard Meloche says it's all about providing affordable options for residents.

"I'm all in favour of this," says Meloche.  "I know we're going to have some bumps to contend with, but all-in-all it's going to be a much better situation than what we have right now for those persons who are having a difficult time finding a place to live at a decent cost."

At a special meeting Tuesday, council was presented with a draft bylaw outlining several restrictions including the homes can only be used as long-term rentals and they cannot be bigger than the main residence on the property.

The bylaw comes back to council on April 19 for further discussion.