Could you make do in a home of 400 square feet? Would you want to?
That’s what the Camp Verde Department of Economic Development is trying to find out.
The department is working on a “micro-home” community – a diverse planned unit development following principles of sustainability in order to “redefine affordable housing.”
The Micro-home Cohousing Pocket Neighborhood is “intended to be a pilot project to prove the concept that alternative communities are viable, desirable, and indeed an asset to the cities and towns they call home – and in so doing will prepare the path for future housing developments,” a document from the plan states. The plot of land is located behind the Camp Verde Town Hall.
Sebra Choe, economic development specialist, is the brain of the project.
While Choe has a personal passion for micro-housing, the motivation for the “tiny” homes partially comes from a story she heard that involved a young Camp Verde resident.
The resident had gone to Northern Arizona University, decided school was not a fit for them, and wanted to return to Camp Verde to live and work. However, the resident felt there were few opportunities in Camp Verde and few affordable places to live. They expressed they were probably going to move to Phoenix.
The project aims to figure out a way to allow people who want to live and contribute to Camp Verde to do so in a new way.
However, the project is not specifically aimed at young people. The target would be anyone who wants to live eco-friendly in a high-quality but smaller home, within a walkable distance of Camp Verde’s downtown.
“This isn’t a project specifically for millennials or older people. I don’t want to give a demographic, because this lifestyle could be someone at any age,” Choe said.
The phrase “tiny home” actually refers to homes that are 400 square feet or less. The project coins the term “micro-home.” The homes in the micro-home development go up to 800 square feet, technically classifying them as “small” homes. The micro-homes are targeted to sell between $80,000 and $150,000.
The Camp Verde homes will not have wheels and will avoid the stacked look of trailer parks. Instead, owners who buy the lots will build their own tiny micro-homes. The homes will have electric and water – no outdoor generators.
As the plan stands now, homes will not have parking garages or spots in front of the houses, instead there will be a communal parking lot near the entrance of the property. After exiting the parking lot, residents of the micro-home community would travel by footpaths to their homes.
While Choe acknowledges that there is some sacrifice in convenience in say, carrying groceries to the doorstep, the idea behind creating walkways instead of roadways to each home (emergency responders will still have access) is in hopes of fostering a sense of community through pedestrian interaction. There are upsides, as residents will be able to walk to the soccer field behind Town Hall and walking distance to the downtown area.
Volunteers in Camp Verde have shown interest in the project. Volunteers have drawn up maps to scale of what the development of the land could potentially look like when finished.
One problem the project has faced is finding a company to develop the property. After the department of economic development reached out to several companies to no avail, the owner of the property agreed to develop the land – a milestone for the project.
However, the Micro-home Cohousing Pocket Neighborhood has a long journey ahead – the property needs to be developed, including re-zoning, irrigation access easement and drainage engineering, among other steps.
While the actual building of the homes may be far off, the project has made major strides. The owner of the land has communicated to the Department of Economic Development that they are willing to develop the land themselves.
If the Cohousing Pocket Community comes to fruition, and those clamoring to live a tiny-home lifestyle fill the micro-spaces, the future of sustainable housing may be huge – and tiny.