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Wichita councilman asks planning commission to look at tiny home rules

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WICHITA, Kan. A Wichita city councilman is asking the planning staff to look at city rules after a controversy sparked surrounding a tiny homes development.

The 90-home development is in the works at 143rd and Harry.
That was approved by the council two weeks ago.

It is surrounded by large, expensive homes, and now some of those neighbors are upset about the tiny homes – saying they’re worried it might affect their home values.

These luxury tiny homes are advertised as small as 408 square feet for the development in southeast Wichita.

A city councilman formally requested research be done on building requirements when it comes to size, as well as the public notification process for changes in nearby property.

“I wasn’t just going to sweep it away and say okay it’s on to the next deal, this one is too important that we don’t relook at the seriousness of it,” Wichita City Council member Pete Meitzner says.

The tiny homes development is in Meitzner’s district.

“I took this very seriously, there was a tremendous amount of feedback. I felt horrible about some of the information and messages I was receiving,” said Meitzner.

So Meitzner formally asked during city council Tuesday for the planning commission to look at minimum square footage for homes, as well as the public notification process for projects.

“See the impact and or best practices in other cities around us, meaning comparable size cities and see if we find some advisable changes that would be good for our city,” he says.

Finding the rules or impact may be difficult. The tiny home wave is still in its infancy.

There is a project in St. Paul, Minnesota on hold in search of a new location.

A couple planned developments in Colorado, and a luxury tiny home development in Lakeside, Arizona.

There a few more in the works across the nation.

Meitzner says it is a delicate balance with property rights, “Maybe we look at notification process and is there a standard we want to put in place.”

There is no specific timetable for how long it will take the planning commission to look at possible size requirements or public notification.