Residents opposed to tiny house project to house homeless youth present their case to Smiths Falls Council

April 25, 2018 by
Tiny House by Planet Structures - similar to what is being proposed for the project.

Tiny House by Planet Structures - similar to what is being proposed for the project.

Earlier this month Cornerstone Landing’s Chair Terrilee Kelford, asked Smiths Falls Council to consider donating a parcel of municipally owned residential land located on Franklin Street to the youth services organization and allow them to build three tiny houses - approximately 312 sq ft - on the lot.

The proposal has raised the ire of some Franklin Street residents. One of them, Ross Ayotte came before Committee on April 23rd, clearly upset at the proposal. Prior to appearing as a delegation, Ayotte had met with Mayor Shawn Pankow and Kelford, but those meeting only seemed to alarm him even more. He also sent several emails expressing his concern to media outlets including Lake 88.

His concern is that a lack of overnight supervision of youth is such houses will encourage underage drinking, and drug use, leading to slum conditions that will devalue the properties on his street.  Following his meetings with the Mayor and Kelford, Ayotte came away understanding that there could be more than three Tiny Houses approved within the town.

However a report by Karl Grenke, the town’s newly appointed senior planner points out that a lot of things would have to happen before Tiny Houses could be approved on Franklin Street or anywhere else in town.  Currently the minimum dwelling size in town is of 915 sq ft at the low end, there is a policy of one dwelling per lot, and by-laws that prohibit mobile homes from being used as residences.

As Grenke explained although council could make a site specific exception, the town’s zoning by-laws are currently being reviewed and updated to match up with the new Official Plan, and any major changes – such as Tiny Houses - will have to be discussed in Council and with the public before approval.