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Atascadero's proposed tiny-home development isn't affordable


On the Atascadero city cable network, a City Council member recently boldly advertised that a developer wishes to develop a 1.7-acre lot in Atascadero and build approximately 26 "tiny homes." This council member proudly remarked that this was an "affordable housing" development for Atascadero.

These free-standing units will range from approximately 500 square feet to 900 square feet in size. Prices start at $250,000 and jump to $350,000. Some quick math indicates that the price per square foot, at these prices, is approximately $390 to $500 per square foot per dwelling. I do not know where this council member resides and what style home he currently owns. Personally, I have not stepped into $500-per-square-foot homes in any zip codes in California that I can recall.

The developer's cost for the land, permits, and other fees cannot warrant these excessive mortgage premiums. The developer will gain the advantage of being able to utilize a Henry Ford type of construction line building these dwellings on the one parcel. Henry Ford, using the same techniques, made the cost of a Model T very reasonable and within the budget of the common man. I request that the city of Atascadero in its earliest consideration of this project delve deep into what is an acceptable cost per square foot and reasonable profit for this developer. Some quick math indicates that this small lot might bring in a total of approximately $10 million or more on a 1.7-acre developed site.

I wholeheartedly support our dire need for affordable housing. This project does not in any sense afford first-time homebuyers with any bang for their buck and exceeds any semblance of affordability or practicality to the buyer. I suggest that New Times investigate further how essentially unaffordable housing, with square footage costs exceeding that of Bel Air or Beverly Hills, can be shuffled off on the consumer while he or she listens to the roar of Highway 101 traffic that borders this parcel's development.

This project as tentatively discussed is a parody on affordability and an affront to sensibility. We have become jaded to think that $500-per-square-foot building costs are acceptable on what I gather will be approximately 1,500 to 2,000 square foot lot sizes for each dwelling. The words of Mr. Redd Foxx on the TV show named Sanford and Son must be heralded here: "Are you crazy?"

Robert Sonek


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