Residents of Charlotte's Coulwood neighborhood fighting tiny home subdivision

Trouble for tiny homes
Updated: Sep. 6, 2017 at 6:20 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Residents of Charlotte's Coulwood neighborhood are not happy about a plan to bring a subdivision of tiny homes to their area. Neighbors argue the tiny homes don't fit in with the older homes and the nearly 60-year established community. One home has already been built.

"We don't want this here," Coulwood resident Robert Wilson said. "We don't think it's the right place for it here. We feel like it's going to hurt our property values."

The model tiny home that sits across from Paw Creek Elementary School goes for about $90,000 while a regular new home in Coulwood goes for about $250,000. Residents predict their property value will drop significantly. One resident has even opted not to remodel her home until the tiny home drama is resolved.

"There's no need to dump $50,000 to $60,0000 into my house if I am going to lose, in my opinion, $75,000 of value," Pam Abernathy said.

Developer Kelvin Young claims residents don't have to worry about a dip in their property value. He believes the tiny homes can make a difference.

"Per square footage, this house will increase anybody's value in the neighborhood," Young said. "This is selling at $180 a square foot, and that's a record for this neighborhood."

Property value is not the only concern for the neighbors.

"Just because he can build 56, there is no way it's going to be 56 cars," Wilson said. "It could be two people in one of these houses and there's another car. We're talking about traffic."

City officials say they had no idea about a tiny home subdivision planned for the Coulwood neighborhood. It is called the first tiny home subdivision in the Charlotte area. This caught city officials off guard. Now that city leaders are aware, neighbors want them to step in.

"What we want the city to do is stop this," Wilson said. "And we are going to do everything we can within our power and within the rules and regulations to fight it."

Young says the tiny home business is nothing new and wonders why neighbors are just now speaking out.

"I started building this in February 2016 and nothing was said before then," the developer said. "There wasn't any backlash until I think because of the positive feedback we've had."

Young believes the subdivision can help the city's affordable housing problem. He says so far he has about 20 people interested in living in the tiny home subdivision. The developer says affordability comes up in conversation with the potential home buyers.

"This is an option that will allow me to afford something and enjoy life and not be house poor," Young said.

This subdivision is not a done deal. Young still has to present the plan to city leaders. The topic will come up at Monday night's city council meeting. It will then be deferred to the Housing and Neighborhood Development Committee. City leaders say they will probably enforce tighter regulations to slow down the tiny home subdivision.

"We feel the city needs to look at this more closely to define a tiny house," Wilson said.

While neighbors hope the city can save their Coulwood neighborhood, the developer says he is not going anywhere.

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