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Tiny homes get a big boost through residential real estate zoning

Not every home is ideally suited to every homeowner's needs. For that reason, homes come in many shapes and sizes. Overall, the industry trend has generally been toward larger homes. In one Alberta neighbourhood, however, the exact opposite is set to occur following a zoning approval for a new kind of residential real estate.

Close to midway between Calgary and Edmonton is the small community of Big Valley. A potential homebuilder approached the town about constructing a small log cabin in a residential neighbourhood. The request was turned down due to zoning by-laws in the community. As more requests for tiny homes came in, however, the town council decided to take action.

A new neighbourhood entirely made up of houses of 700 square feet or less is now in the planning stages. The average lot size will be a mere 30 feet by 80 feet, and the area will accommodate 22 homes. The amended by-laws require each tiny home be built on a permanent foundation, be connected to municipal sewers and water lines, and have hookups for power and gas. The new neighbourhood will be one of the first of its kind in Canada.

Not only does this story indicate an expanding repertoire of residential real estate styles in Alberta, it also cautions against building without permission. Had the original applicant bought the land with expectations of building, he may have been sorely disappointed. Any person looking to build their own home, or considering the purchase of an unusual property, might wish to speak with a real estate lawyer for advice before making concrete plans.

Source:, "Tiny homes for Big Valley, Alberta", Carmel Kilkenny, March 24, 2017

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