NP discuss changes to Tiny Home agreement

By Kelsey Kimbler -

NEW PARIS — Gerald Brubaker, owner of Cedar Springs Tiny Village, attended the New Paris Village Council meeting on Monday, June 3, to follow up with council on a previous request to allow potential tiny home buyers to rent a home for a short period to try the lifestyle out for size.

When he approached council with the idea last month, several members were uncertain it was a good idea, as they were afraid allowing anyone to rent a tiny home from Brubaker could eventually spiral into all owners being able to rent their tiny homes out to the public.

Brubaker had assured them that was not going to happen. He would be allowed to have a model home for short term rental, but tiny home owners would still not be able to rent out their homes themselves.

During the meeting on June 3, Brubaker added, he had his attorney reach out to the villages for advice. They had asked Brubaker to discuss the situation with council one more time to see if a solution could be agreed upon.

He pointed out a similar community called Tiny Estates which has a program where potential buyers could try the product before they commit.

“What they have found, by allowing people to come in and try a tiny home out, it allows them to experience it and know if they would like to have certain features, they can decide how big they want to build [their home]. By experiencing it in an overnight setting, for a couple nights, that allows them to do that. After talking to them, I had a much clearer picture of what we’re wanting to accomplish here as well,” Brubaker said.

“After talking to my attorney, he said, the thing we really want to make sure we’re emphasizing is that we don’t want this to be a long term rental at all. I think that was something that was maybe misunderstood last time. We want it to be very much where someone is coming in for a couple nights, I would be willing to even emphasize that we would want a maximum of seven nights, so we’re not looking at long term or year-round.

“This would be a short term stay where people could experience it for two or three nights, maybe four or five nights at the most. If we put a stipulation that it could not be more than seven nights, I think that is an important point. The other point we would want to have input is we would have a maximum of five [model homes]. We want to keep it condensed to a very few we would keep there for marketing.”

Council member Mary Jane Thomas asked if it would be a seasonal program, or if renters would be allowed all year long. Brubaker responded, “We wouldn’t tie it to a season, because we are there all year round.”

Council member Ralph Dungan compared the program to test driving vehicles before you purchase it, but noted, he believes it should be done elsewhere. Council member Luther Conway added, there is no guarantee that after renting the tenant will buy a tiny home. He argued, it could turn into a “long term rental” situation, where they are renting out these homes continuously.

Dungan added, rentals were prohibited when the contract for Cedar Springs Tiny Village was originally brought before council.

“Now [Brubaker] is wanting to change all of that. I’m not willing to make that change for me, the rest of you can make your own choice,” he said.

According to Brubaker, this plan is a way to better market the properties at Cedar Springs Tiny Village.

Dungan countered, it could become a “showroom” for manufacturers of tiny homes.

“If it does create revenue for the town, I’m all for New Paris and I’m all for creating revenue for New Paris,” Conway said. “I’m all about making New Paris happy.”

Mayor Kathy Smallwood said they would take what Brubaker told them under advisement, but no council member moved to approve these proposed changes. Council will be discussing the proposal with its solicitor in July.

By Kelsey Kimbler

Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH

Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH