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Quick OK sought for tiny homes zoning

Alderman will be asked to act on the zoning change Monday.

1918 Noyes St., the tiny vacant lot between homes at 1916 and 1920 Noyes, could become the site for one of the city's first micro dwelling units. (Google Maps image)

Evanston aldermen on Monday will be asked to introduce and give final approval to zoning changes that would permit creation of tiny homes on small lots in the city.

The request for waiving the usual two week delay between introduction and action is being made by Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward.

City staff, which previously referred to the concept as “micro dwelling units” now is calling it “Efficiency Homes” — apparently avoiding the “tiny home” term because for many people it conjures up the idea of a mobile home or recreational vehicle — which would not be permitted under the Evanston plan. Tiny homes here would have to be “permanently affixed to a foundation.”

The proposal is being advanced by Andrew Gallimore who says there are nearly three dozen lots 3,300 square feet or less in the city that could be candidates for tiny home construction.

Gallimore owns one of those lots, at 1918 Noyes St. He says he wants to build a tiny home there to provide an independent living opportunity for his older brother who has special needs.

The Plan Commission voted 6-0 last month to recommend City Council approval of the zoning changes.

A tiny home would be required to have one off-street parking space, unless it was located within 1,500 feet or less of a transit stop. That’s the same as the parking requirement for coach houses or accessory dwelling units and means, in effect, that no off-street parking would be required for a tiny home in most of the city.

Tiny homes would be allowed in any residential zoning district in town and would be required to have a ground floor area of 500 square feet or less and would have a maximum height of 28 feet. Side and rear yard setback requirements would be reduced to three feet. Any variation from those rules would require special use approval by the City Council.

While new-construction tiny homes would not be cheap, they are seen as another way to create additional relatively affordable housing in the city.

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Aldermen to get tiny homes proposal (1/30/21)

Tiny homes plan advances (11/12/20)

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