By: David Benda
August 25, 2020 —
Small transitional housing communities for the homeless are prohibited in Redding.
On Tuesday, the Planning Commission will consider allowing this alternative housing in designated areas of the city and will vote whether to send a zoning change recommendation to the City Council.
The change would allow two types of tiny house communities: “minor” for up to three shelters and six residents, and “major” for up 20 shelters and 30 residents.
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The zoning change would establish a new land-use category called micro-shelter supportive communities that would be regulated in various zoning districts throughout Redding.
Laural Park, the Redding woman whose idea for tiny homes prompted the city to consider changing land-use rules to allow them, said she is pleased with the proposal.
Park said that if the city adopts the new rules, there’s a chance a tiny home community of up to three units could pop up in the next few months. She envisions the transitional housing project being operated on the property of a church or other nonprofit.
“In the interim I have met with various religious groups leaders and will present at the Shasta Interfaith (Forum) meeting next month,” Park said Monday. “My personal goal is to have at least several minor support communities set up by the end of the year.”
Currently, land-use rules in Redding treat microshelters as camping, which is not allowed in the city except in RV parks.
“Homelessness is a serious concern for our community. The City Council and various community groups are seeking alternatives and options for providing services to homeless individuals,” Redding Planning Manager Lily Toy stated in the report to the Planning Commission.
Park said the “major” tiny home developments couldn’t be built on a church site. But wherever they go, she said it won’t be near residential neighborhoods, schools or parks.
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“It would be heavy industrial or light industrial (property). Not near schools or parks but still within range of people having access to the bus, or they can ride their bikes, so they can get to a job,” Park said.
In January, Park did a demonstration as California Heritage YouthBuild Academy students and volunteer builders put together a 60-square-foot, insulated tiny hut at the school’s campus on Airport Road.
Large or small, the tiny shelter communities that Park wants to develop in Redding would be secured by a fence, have a locked entrance gate and be for adults only. The shelters would be 60 square feet with a small porch. They would have bathrooms, a common area and kitchen, if needed.
“I am working on a budget now and the huts themselves would be about $1,200 (each),” Park said.
She said that people living in the transitional housing would help build the shelter.
“So the huts themselves will not be hard in terms of cost and labor,” Park said.
The tiny shelter communities would be complemented by a support service network.
“Because providing the shelter alone is not going to do it,” Park said. “They all need support services.”
Mental health, job placement and drug abuse counseling could be among the services.
Residents would be responsible for maintenance.
“They will be required to work an X amount of hours a week to help take of the community,” Park said.
Under the proposed rules, residents could not stay for more than 300 days in any 12-month period.
This article courtesy of the Record Searchlight
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