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Tiny houses may be too big for some Tucson neighborhoods

Published: Oct. 27, 2021 at 9:44 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The intent is good, but sometimes good intentions lead to unintended consequences. And the new ordinance allowing tiny houses just may be an example of that.

Tucson lacks affordable housing, so by allowing homeowners to build a smaller unit on property for a care giver, a family member, or as a way to make a bit more income is probably a good idea.

But when it comes to the university area, that good idea becomes a problem.

Those new tiny homes around the University of Arizona will likely be more homes for students, built by out-of-state speculators and developers.

City council member Steve Kozachik, who presides over that area, wants the downsize in these neighborhoods to a max of 650 square feet, not the universal 1,000 that the city passed.

“You cannot do a one size fits all rezoning and expect it to have the same kind of impact in areas around campus as it will for example on the far east side where they live on one acre lots,” Kozachik said.

In recent years, some Tucson neighborhoods around the university lost ground to mini dorms because of confusing zoning laws, and residents are concerned this could be history repeating itself.

“When we go in and change zoning codes and put their quality of life at risk especially on these small lots around campus, it’s a betrayal of our trust as a city,” Kozachik said.

So as not to betray the folks around the university, the city may reconsider the size of the accessory units around UArizona in order to keep its promise of more affordable housing, but limit the attractiveness to speculators.

The city may consider to downsize in some neighborhoods next months.

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