Smaller Lots Could Make a Future for Smaller Homes in Kodiak

A tiny house village located in Washington D.C. Photo by Inhabitant / Flickr
A tiny house village located in Washington D.C. Photo by Inhabitant / Flickr

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

The state of Alaska abounds with creative living situations, from houseboats to yurts, and the tiny house market may have a future in Kodiak. But that starts with Kodiak Island Borough code.

According to borough Community Development Director Sara Mason, the tiny house movement is especially popular among millennials, many who approach housing with both school debt and adventure on the mind.

“For those that have a tiny home or a smaller home in place, it still affords them the opportunity to do more traveling and the opportunity to live debt free, but still have something that they can call their own.”

There’s also the obvious appeal: smaller often means less expensive.

According to statistics from the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, the cost of a single-family residence in Alaska is 40 percent higher than the U.S. average. And that doesn’t include the price of home luxuries, like internet and hot water.

Mason says the cost of living would be more affordable for a small home.

“It’s less for heat, it’s less electricity. If it’s smaller and the assessed value is lower, your property taxes are lower. Just regular maintenance and upkeep on the outside of it. Homeowner’s insurance. Things like that are all gonna be cheaper.”

She says she’s gotten some inquiries recently from land developers interested in establishing a small home neighborhood, but the borough doesn’t offer a residential small lot option.

“Right now the real hang-up is that you can’t put that many residential structures on one lot, so you’d have to subdivide it, but most people that want a tiny home also want a tiny lot, and right now you can’t have anything less than 7200 square feet.”

Code to change that is currently before the Planning and Zoning Commission.

At tonight’s P & Z work session, members will look at creating a new zoning district that would permit the development of single-family residential structures on small lots.

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