Greenfield floats ‘tiny house’ concept for Deerfield Street

  • A tiny house in Hadley, which ran afoul of town’s land use rules there earlier this year. For The Recorder/Carol Lollis

  • An empty lot at 104 Deerfield Street in Greenfield. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

  • An empty lot at 106 Deerfield Street in Greenfield. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

Recorder Staff
Published: 7/11/2016 11:00:36 PM

GREENFIELD — As the “tiny house” movement continues to gain popularity across the nation, with more people choosing to live simply in smaller spaces, Greenfield is exploring whether the community would be interested in making small homes an option for a new development on Deerfield Street.

The town is planning a new, seven-dwelling housing project and has purchased parcels between 104 and 106 Deerfield St. over the past several years using Community Development Block Grant money. At least four of the seven dwellings will be considered affordable housing, and Mayor William Martin has expressed hope that veterans would be given priority.

This week, Community Development Administrator MJ Adams held a talk at the library about “tiny houses,” which are typically less than 400 square feet and mobile. A small two- or three-bedroom house would typically be at least 1,000 square feet.

“I was interested in really seeing if there’s an interest in doing something a little different on that site,” she said. “It’s slightly less than an acre, and we want to invest in the Deerfield Street corridor as the high profile gateway to town.”

Adams said the homes on that site would be permanent and owner-occupied, rather than rentals. The goal is to build a development that aligns with what was outlined in the Sustainable Greenfield Master Plan.

The idea for small homes on the parcel came about after more than 50 people showed up at the library for a talk about “tiny houses” last month, but the presenter never came.

“They had all these people who were interested in tiny houses, and nobody to present,” she said.

So Adams offered to share her knowledge about the movement and brought a building inspector from Northampton this week to answer questions about “tiny houses” and what can be built under Massachusetts codes. She estimated between 30 and 35 people showed up.

“It’s not a definitive plan for small houses yet,” Adams said. “I was reaching out to the community to sort of explore what the community wants in terms of housing.”

The town’s plan is to eventually issue a request for proposals from developers, but Adams said more information needs to be gathered about what people want to see on the site.

“We want to make sure when we put this land out and ask for a developer to make a proposal, that it’s really meeting the needs and values of what Greenfield wants done down there,” she said.

Adams hopes the request for proposals will go out this summer, and that a decision will be made by fall. If that happens, she said construction could begin next spring.

Although the small homes concept is separate from the proposed Accessory Dwelling Unit ordinance, which will go before Town Council next month, Adams said both the “tiny houses” and in-law apartments are part of a larger conversation about enhancing the downtown’s walkability and livability.

“I’ve seen different plans that have floated around, but this is the town’s decision and my goal is to put information on the table so people can sort out what’s best for the town of Greenfield,” she said.

You can reach Aviva Luttrell at:
or 413-772-0261, ext. 268
On Twitter: @AvivaLuttrell

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