The ProHousing Project
The price of property and the size of building lots in existing subdivisions on
Bainbridge Island creates a situation in which affordable housing is virtually
impossible without increasing allowable density.
This scenario addresses the possibility of having small, defined areas of high
density at specified minimum distance from one another. According to present R-2
zoning, a house can be built whose footprint is 20% of the lot area. On a
half-acre lot, that would be a house with a ground floor coverage of 3800
square feet. The example shown in Figure 4 is a typical one-half acre
suburban lot divided into six smaller lots with single-unit cottages
(commonly referred to as "SRO" or "single room occupancy"). This would result
in six small home sites, in which the combined footprints of all six buildings
is an area of only 1920 square feet, or 10% of the lot area.
Fig. 4 - Plot Plan: 16 x 20 Cottages with Carports (107 KB)
This scenario shows that increase of human density does not necessarily result
in an increase in building coverage. The units may be built separately, as
shown, or attached. All existing setbacks, height restrictions, on-site parking,
and drainfield requirements must be observed, just as they are for single-family
The cottage shown in Figure 5 is a variation of the accessory dwelling in Figure
3, with the addition of an attached carport.
Fig. 5 - Detail: 16 x 20 Cottage with Carport (134 KB)
Zoning for these developments would establish a minimum proximity between one
another; we recommend at least 1000 feet. By spacing these high density clusters,
they would not significantly impact an area.
Our present subdivision philosophy encourages homogenous types of dwellers and
groups them into blocks of similar types of inhabitants such as young people with
growing families, people in similar income ranges, the affluent, the poor, the
single and the elderly. Single people are usually shunted into apartment houses
and the elderly into retirement or nursing homes, while young families occupy the
typical suburban lot.
Planning a community with small high density clusters would begin to reverse the
trend of social and economic homogeneity in our zoning patterns by introducing
a wider cross-section of ages, lifestyles and incomes to a neighborhood.
Micro-dwellers tend to be single people, retired persons and people who choose
to live a simple lifestyle. This diversity would compliment and enrich the
existing community pattern.
A cottage group such as the example shown in figures 4 and 5 could be built
co-operatively by a group of people such as an artists community, a retirement
community, a group of friends or an extended family. It could also be built
by a developer or spec home builder. If financing could be designed to
accommodate sales of each individual unit, as is done with condominiums,
micro dwellers could build micro equities.
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ProHousing - Copyright © 1991, 1999 by Ron Konzak
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