Forum notes were submitted by one of the moderators for the Chelsea Forum, Rod Anderson. The Chelsea Forum is held every third Saturday of the month at 9 a.m. at the Chelsea Senior Center. Topics are determined by those present.
Three topics were selected for discussion:
- Status of “Timbertown” tunnel
- “Tiny Houses”
- Housing development in Lima Township
With the activity of recreational paths in the Chelsea area, there was confusion about the current status of proposed tunnels under M-52, specifically one around the Timbertown area (also known as Veteran’s Park). The group checked online resources for information, specifically the Huron-Waterloo Pathways Initiative . A map of the current status of the border to border trail doesn’t show a crossing around the Timbertown/Vets Park area. Need to look into this further.
Patrick Zieske, in addition to all his other projects, has been looking into the feasibility of small house construction in the area, specifically Sylvan Township. Patrick related some of the issues surrounding these “tiny houses.” Many of the construction and zoning requirements for full scale houses (>1000 sq.ft.) are constraining for small houses (which are generally considered to be under 400 sq. ft). Historically, restrictions on house size may have been motivated by a desired to limit the access of the less affluent to certain municipalities. Small homes are distinct from mobile homes, which have specific construction and zoning requirements are are legally vehicles (with a VIN number).
With regard to action by local municipalities on this topic, It was noted that the City of Chelsea Master Plan addressed “add- on houses” as potential residences. These small houses are constructed on existing residential sites, usually for one additional person. Patrick has addressed the Sylvan Township Board on this topic but was told the issue “was complicated” and the Planning Commission is busy. But the issue “should be addressed in the future.”
A number of possible issues with tiny houses were brought up. Many had to do with provision of utilities. Some current tiny houses rely on composting toilets and grey water discharge to avoid use of sewage treatment plant or the need for a septic tank.
This topic refers to the Wolf Property development. No additional information was available at this meeting.