The City of Action is looking into a Planning Grant Program for the possibility of Tiny Houses as an alternate option for affordable housing. Donna M. Kenney, Planning and Building Manager for the City of Riverbank, presented some information and answered questions from the city council at a recent meeting. The council directed Kenney to pursue the SB 2 grant that will help fund a consultant and review the city’s plans and projects to direct them in the best possible way.
City Manager Sean Scully stated at the council meeting that this was another item that staff was excited about.
“To my knowledge we are the first in the county to consider tiny houses and an ordinance change to allow them here,” stated Scully. “This is something the Mayor has brought up a number of times and other council members have said that we really need to look into this as alternatives for housing and also it works into what we are trying to do with our homeless population and transitional housing.”
Kenney explained in her presentation that according to the State, the county-wide housing need is 21,330 units. She added that in Riverbank’s 2005-2025 General Plan it estimates that there could be 10,700 new dwelling units in the city by 2025. They are estimating about 2100 new units in Crossroads West and approximately 400 new units on the East side.
She advised the council that there are many things that need to be considered like what type of tiny houses – mobile or permanent, the size of the houses possibly less than 900 square feet, placement and zoning, also is it an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) or compound, the purpose of the tiny houses, the process and fees to be required and whether the staff or planning commission will handle that, as well as grant opportunities.
The City of Riverbank will move forward in applying for the SB 2 grant to get a consultant and review the city’s current plans to see if the tiny houses are a good fit. The deadline to apply for the grant is at the end of November. If the grant is approved the city will hold a workshop and invite the community to attend to share the details and specifics of what the future of tiny houses in Riverbank may look like.