Aiken County Planning Commission talks tiny houses, prepares to discuss issues

September 22, 2018

The Aiken County Planning Commission heard a presentation about tiny houses during its meeting Thursday night at the Aiken County Government Center.

The county’s new planning and development director, Joel Duke, talked to the panel about the small residences and the concerns associated with them.

He also asked the Planning Commission to get involved in helping the county determine how to deal with those matters and provided the panel with additional information in a memorandum.

After listening to Duke, the Planning Commission scheduled a work session on tiny houses for 5 p.m. Oct. 18 at the Government Center.

The work session will precede the Planning Commission’s regularly scheduled meeting at 6 p.m. on that date.

County Administrator Clay Killian wasn’t at Thursday’s Planning Commission meeting, but he did respond by email to a question from the Aiken Standard about why county officials believe something needs to be done sooner rather than later about the regulation of tiny houses.

The county’s current Code of Ordinances “really does not address the issue, and we need to clarify that,” Killian wrote. “Frankly, we have had people come in to try to (get a) permit (for) a storage shed as a tiny house, and we have not allowed it because it is not suitable for habitation.

“We are beginning to get more requests for them (tiny houses),” Killian continued, “and we need to make sure our code, particularly zoning regulations, are clear on how we treat them. One of the main questions we need to clarify is in which zoning districts do we allow them and how many to a lot. Bottom line, it is a new form of housing that our code does not specifically address and my guess is most counties and cities in the state are facing the same issue,” Killian concluded.

Duke told the Planning Commission that how tiny houses are defined varies.

“They are many different things to many different folks,” he said.

Some people, for example, think houses less than 1,000 square feet in size are tiny homes while others believe the maximum size for a tiny house is 500 square feet.

In some cases, tiny houses on wheels are considered to be in the same class as recreational vehicles.

Also during Thursday’s meeting, the Planning Commission granted a request for a preliminary plat approval from Schickedanz Bros. Ltd. for a subdivision development project known as Hitchcock Crossing Section 6.

The vote was 5-0.

Planning Commission members Jet Beckum, Denise Fulmer and Debra Larke weren’t at the meeting.

Chairwoman Terri Turner didn’t vote.

The Hitchcock Crossing Section 6 project involves 72.36 acres on Wando Ridge Road between Aiken and the Graniteville/Warrenville area.

Plans call for the property to be divided into 125 lots.

Southern Partners Inc. of Augusta is providing engineering services for the project.

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