A developer plans to build 31 houses in northeast Riverbank that would be much smaller, and less costly, than its typical offerings.
McRoy-Wilbur Communities hopes to charge no more than $350,000 for each house, company secretary Ian Wilbur said in a July 20 phone interview. The median sale price was $475,000 in Stanislaus County in June, according to Realtor.com.
The project would rise on vacant land at the southwest corner of Claus Road and Stanislaus Street, just east of downtown. It would be the county’s first foray into the “tiny house” concept.
Wilbur said the project could suit young families hoping to build up enough equity to buy conventional homes, or retirees looking for less yard work.
“People seem to be genuinely excited about having something affordable,” he said.
‘Blazing a new trail’
The houses would range from 647 to 792 square feet, typical of apartments, but would be sold as single units on their own small lots.
The city’s zoning rules do not permit free-standing homes that small, Planning and Building Manager Donna Kenney told the Riverbank Planning Commission.
The needed changes have been dubbed the Tiny House Village Ordinance, conceivably for dwellings as small as 150 square feet. Those near the low end have been suggested in various locales as a step up for homeless people.
The commission discussed the ordinance July 19 and could vote next month on whether to recommend specific rules to the City Council. The document would outline which parts of Riverbank should have tiny houses, along with standards for parking, landscaping and other details.
“We’re kind of blazing a new trail here,” Kenney said.
The commission and council also would have to approve the specifics of the McRoy-Wilbur project, known as The Grove. Construction could start as soon as October and take until early 2023, Ian Wilbur said.
No prefab construction
Each house would be one story and have two bedrooms, one and a half bathrooms, a kitchen, a dining area and a living room. Two parking spaces would be just outside.
The houses would be built on site, rather than prefabricated, and aimed at owner-occupiers, not renters.
They would be about a third the size of conventional projects. At the same meeting, the commission approved 40 homes ranging from 1,342 to 2,215 square feet in the Countryside II subdivision. It is on the east side of Claus about half a mile south of The Grove.
McRoy-Wilbur has built about 4,000 homes in and near Stanislaus County over four decades. SKW & Associates of Modesto is designing the tiny homes.
Riverbank hired J.B. Anderson Land Use Planning, based in Ripon, to help draft the ordinance.
This story was originally published July 25, 2022 8:00 AM.