NP council discusses tiny house builders

By Kelsey Kimbler -

NEW PARIS — The Cedar Springs Tiny Village is a tiny home village located in New Paris, and the brain child of Gerald Brubaker.

With approved builders Modern Tiny Living, Brubaker has created a tiny village of three houses, “surrounded by the beauty of the outdoors.”

When Brubaker went through the approval process in 2017, he made an agreement with the New Paris Village Council to get permission before adding any additional builders to the project. Brubaker attended the council meeting on Monday, Jan. 7 to do just that.

He explained, in the last year and a half he has learned several things about his new business. They have had individuals approach them, who already bought a tiny home that is a certified build from a different builder. They have also had builders approach them who build a certain type of tiny home and would like to come this direction.

“As I looked at that, Modern Tiny Living, who is our approved builder, are building tiny homes that are going to the northeast and down south — they are sending them to different parts of the country. There are builders who are down south and sending tiny homes up here,” he said.

“It is part of that market, that builders are building in different market places. Going back to how we looked at it from the restrictions, we have several opportunities that people who do have tiny homes could come in, but right now we can’t allow them in because they’re not using our approved builder.”

He added, there is a code builders have to follow to be a certified builder. There are several different standards they must adhere to, in order to be certified.

Brubaker has been researching builders to add to the project and found two different ways to move forward: they can require additional builders to be a Certified Builders or they can list several builders who are certified.

“Does the State of Ohio have any say so on the on the building of these structures?” council member Mary Jane Thomas asked.

“They do not. Picture, you are buying an RV and you can go onto a lot and buy any RV on that lot and there are probably a dozen different manufacturers represented there. There are a lot of options to choose from. I liken that process to what I am talking about now. They are all certified,” Brubaker said.

“We want to make sure the builders have an appointment with these inspections so they are meeting the criteria to be certified. It eliminates a lot of the undesirable people that are trying to cut corners. We are 100 percent focused on that, to make sure that is in place.”

Mayor Kathy Smallwood noted, the aesthetics were a factor in the decision of the singular builder. Council agreed the quality of Modern Tiny Living was on par with what they would want to represent New Paris.

“As long as they are certified, they have to build to a certain standard, to even have a product to offer. As long as they are building to that standard, they are pretty comparable [to Modern Tiny Living and the existing tiny homes],” Brubaker said.

Thomas suggested hosting another public meeting, to get the neighbors’ opinion on the suggested change.

“I don’t know if that is necessary. I am just pointing out, some of it was dependent on how they look,” Smallwood said.

“They are very comparable in quality to what is there now,” Brubaker said.

Several council members argued multiple builders should have been listed in the contract to begin with. Mayor Smallwood suggested they allow any “certified builders,” instead of listing four or five qualified builders. She argued, it is more restrictive to list builders than allow for any qualified builder.

Susan Laux with Mote and Associates suggested having Brubaker suggest names of builders and research companies before approving them, so council can be sure of the quality of the product before it enters the village.

Council agreed to table the item until Brubaker can present proposed builders for council review.

By Kelsey Kimbler

Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-693-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH

Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-693-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH