ARKcentric Moving Forward
We are moving forward. Three things are happening with ARKcentric that I want to make everyone aware of.
1.City Building Code Changes
In January 2018, the San Angelo’s Planning and Development Services department will be requesting approval of the 2015 International Residence Code which details the building code requirements for new home construction in San Angelo. I have had several meetings with the department to present and discuss variances to the IRC that will allow us to build tiny houses for the chronic homeless.
My primary argument has been, “Nationwide, tiny homes are proving to be a significant resource for housing chronically homeless persons and families living in deep poverty, including Veterans. Robert Salas has stated that San Angelo’s affordable housing stock is 6000 units short of meeting the demand. Relaxing the building code in support of tiny houses would go a long way towards increasing our affordable housing stock.”
Then we discovered the 2018 IRC has an approved Appendix that details variances adopted for tiny home (under 400 square feet) construction.
So I asked this question of the department “Is there any way to get the variances in the 2018 IRC Appendix for Tiny Homes adopted alongside but separate from the 2015 IRC.” and the response I received was “That is what I am proposing when I take the 2015 IRC before the council for adoption.
I don’t have a date yet in January when the 2015 IRC and the Tiny House Appendix will be presented to the City Council but, when I do, I will let everyone know and request your attendance at that council meeting to support the adoption of the Appendix.
2. City Zoning Code Cahnges
If and when the Tiny Home Appendix is approved, I will return to the planning depart to hammer out changes to the city’s zoning codes that will permit ARKcentric to build up to 16 tiny (320 square feet) and small (520 and 640 square feet) homes with a community center and parking on one (1) acre lots.
3. Land Purchase
We are currently raising funds ($200,000) to purchase ten acres of land on Old Ballinger Road. There is an existing 10,000 square feet building on the property. The property and has city water. It has a solid foundation but needs a new roof and the electrical and fire suppression systems need updating. Of the remaining land, five acres will be used for agricultural purposes to grow vegetables, microgreens, and other healthy foods for low-income families in San Angelo. San Angelo has been declared a food desert among low-income families. The remaining four acres will be used to build tiny and small homes for individuals and families who are chronically homeless and who want to move out of poverty. Work-able residents will be offered jobs involving planting, harvesting, storing, packaging, distributing and marketing the products. Life skills training, wealth building programs, and community support services will be provided for all residents, as needed.