To developer Kelvin Young, his planned “tiny house” community in northwest Charlotte will create an affordable place for first-time home buyers or for people downsizing.
But to neighbors, Young’s Keyo Park West is a threat to their property values. They are asking City Council to stop it.
“We have been hanging out there for 60 years in Coulwood,” said Robert Wilson, who lives a half-mile from Young’s planned tiny house neighborhood off Cathey Road near Paw Creek Elementary. “All of a sudden this little building started coming up and no one knew what it was. Then it started looking like a house.”
Young’s Keyo Park West would have 56 tiny houses if built out, with the smallest homes – 500 square feet – selling for $89,000. The median home price in Charlotte is about $190,000.
Young is piggy-backing on a national trend of people buying tiny houses, which has been popularized by TV shows such as HGTV’s “Tiny House, Big Living.” In many cases, those homes are truly tiny, with as little as 200 square feet. Keyo Park West would have small homes, but Young’s use of “tiny homes” is in part a marketing strategy.
Wilson, who spoke before council members in opposition to the project in September, said Keyo Park West should be regulated like a mobile-home park.
“You specifically designate areas for mobile homes, and this is no different,” he said. “We want this stopped. We aren’t against (zoning that allows three homes per acre). We are just talking about these types. It will greatly diminish our property values.”
The nearby neighborhood was built in the 1950s. Though only 8 miles from uptown, it’s still a mostly rural area. Homes are appraised at between $175,000 and $250,000.
But Young said neighbors don’t understand his project. While TV shows often celebrate tiny homes on wheels, the Keyo Park tiny homes are built on concrete foundations. He said they are no different than a single-family home, only smaller.
The city of Charlotte said that’s correct. Ed McKinney, the interim planning director, said the tiny home that’s been built qualifies as a single-family home. The city doesn’t require that single-family homes be a certain size.