Monteagle Planning: Recommends Rezoning; Defines Tiny Homes
by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
At the Dec. 7 meeting, the Monteagle Planning Commission recommended the Monteagle Council approve three zoning changes to allow for residential construction. Following up on a request for information in October, building inspector Earle Geary provided a definition of “tiny homes.”
Sondra Bridges requested rezoning from C-2 commercial to R-1 residential three lots she purchased as Gun Estates Subdivision, one with a home already on it. Commenting on the location Geary said, “I can’t understand why any lot either side of DuBose Street would be commercial.” Town planner Annya Shalun with Southeast Tennessee Development said spot rezoning was not an issue since adjacent properties were R-1.
The council also recommended rezoning to allow residences on two properties in the vicinity of the Convenience Center. Phyllis Dills purchased five acres believing it to be zoned residential based on Marion County tax maps. Dills subsequently learned the property fell within the Monteagle City Limits and was zoned C-2. “You need to go buy local jurisdiction,” Geary said. Shalun recommended rezoning to R-3 to conform with zoning of adjacent properties and avoid spot rezoning. Approval by the commission hinged on the council moving forward with a proposed zoning ordinance amendment allowing single family dwellings on R-3 property.
Joshua Kerns, who owns a property neighboring Dills, also requested rezoning from C-2 to residential. Two years ago, Kerns erected a home on the site. A question arose regarding the zoning at the time, although no answer was forthcoming. The commission, nonetheless, recommended rezoning to R-3, as in the case of the Dills property, predicated upon approval by the council of the ordinance amendment allowing single family dwellings in R-3.
Mayor Marilyn Campbell Rodman noted all rezoning requests must follow “the process” defined by town ordinance, which includes two readings by the council, a public hearing, and signage posted on the property proposed for rezoning.
In the discussion about tiny homes, Geary said his research revealed 400 square feet was the agreed upon minimum size. “It [the small size] scares me a little,” Geary acknowledged. Building Codes governing construction in Monteagle dictated regulations on ventilation, lighting, heat, ceiling heights, bathroom size and other parameters, Geary said. “It will take more than 400 square feet to meet those qualifications,” he speculated.
SETD town planner Garret Haynes pointed out by current Monteagle ordinances anything below 600 square feet qualified as a tiny home. Haynes will check to determine if the 400 square foot minimum is compatible with current ordinance stipulations.