Clarksburg considers opening door to tiny houses

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CLARKSBURG — Would tiny houses be a big hit in this small town?

Town officials are in preliminary discussions with representatives from tiny house manufacturer B&B Micro Manufacturing, which is exploring piloting a village of tiny or small houses in Clarksburg.

The most apparent obstacle, however, is that the town has a bylaw banning mobile homes — a category the tiny home would fall under.

"We're at the very, very beginning stages [of discussions]," said Planning Board member Erin Scott. "'We told them it would be a long road."

B&B co-owner Jason Koperniak said the North Adams-based company regularly receives inquiries from people interested in a tiny home, but who don't have anywhere to put it.

Thus, the company is looking to pilot a village of sorts to provide the home — and somewhere to put it — for prospective buyers.

"The demand's clearly there," said Koperniak, who noted the company has reached out to other towns. "At this point, it's talking to all the right people, making sure everyone's on board, and executing to the best possible vision of the town. What that ends up being is up for discussion, and we're obviously willing to work with any local municipality."

If the proposed homes do fall in the "mobile home" category, a change to the town's bylaws would have to go before town voters, and officials expect such a process could be lengthy.

"We're trying to be as receptive as possible, but we do have bylaws," said Town Administrator Carl McKinney.

The town would also have to address the issue of whether such a home would pay excise tax, like a motor vehicle, or property tax like a traditional home.

"The idea of someone wheeling in and out their tiny home is kind of unsettling coming from a tax point of view," Scott said.

Other concerns would include the availability of public water and sewer hookups.

The North Adams-based company has not made any formal proposal, and there hasn't been a location set.

"We're definitely open to hearing what they want to propose," Scott said.

The Planning Board will discuss the matter again at its Wednesday, Feb. 7, meeting.

Reach staff writer Adam Shanks at ashanks@berkshireeagle.com, at @EagleAdamShanks on Twitter, or 413-496-6376.


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