Tuesday's Daily Tidings cover story about tiny homes in Ashland is intriguing, and it could be part of the solution to the severe housing shortage now occurring across Southern Oregon. It is not, however, the same thing as a tiny housing village being proposed in Medford to shelter the homeless.
Ashland's municipal code allows "cottage" dwellings of less than 500 square feet. One featured in Tuesday's story is 190 square feet.
As long as the lot in question is large enough and zoned for more than one home, it is legal to build tiny ones. In fact, up to three could be placed on one lot, because they are considered two-thirds of a home under city code.
But the city also requires the homes to be built on a foundation and connected to utilities. That makes them a great option for someone with resources who needs a place to live, but not as a way to house the homeless.
Hope Village, the project proposed in Medford, would involve really tiny, movable structures just 8 feet by 10, with no foundation, no plumbing and no electricity. The proposal is to place up to 15 on a city-owned lot. If the project doesn't work out, they could be moved.
Temporary, portable shelters make sense for the homeless because they can be built for very little money and don't require permanent installation. That doesn't mean tiny houses can't be used to shelter the homeless, just not on residential lots under Ashland's zoning rules.