California is the in the middle of a housing crisis. With the cost of home ownership rising, city leaders in Clovis are considering the introduction of smaller homes as a solution. They have approved a new program that aims to clear the way for residents in Downtown Clovis to build what they call “cottages” along alleyways.
Clovis Planning Director Dwight Kroll describes the Old Town Cottage Home Program as a way to take advantage of unique properties in downtown Clovis. The city has already developed three designs that homeowners can use for free to build a small home on their property.
“This program came a little bit out of thinking what if you put second units on alleys, allow them to face the alley,” says Kroll. “So you actually have some eyes on the alley itself, and create sort of interior neighborhoods to the neighborhoods that we currently have there now.”
While the plans are for 400-square-foot dwellings, the city is calling the units cottages, instead of “tiny homes,” because they are fixed to the ground.
In the interview, Kroll says the motivation behind the program is varied. Along with bringing attention to alleyways, the city hopes homeowners use the opportunity to increase their property values, and take advantage of the possibilities of a second unit. Kroll says the program may also create affordable housing for college students.
“Being close to Fresno State, having an emerging medical university here and an emerging law school, we thought there might be the ability to provide for student housing in the Old Town area that’s not currently available.”
Kroll anticipates the first cottage homes being developed in a matter of months.