Could Tiny Homes Be A Solution For Their Narrow Lots?

Written By Janet Thome

Mayor Emily Larson unveiled an initiative last Friday as part of the Rebuild Duluth plan that was  originally announced in April and  is calling on builders, developers and citizens of Duluth to create  innovative ideas for sustainable and affordable housing for a total of 19 lots on 13 sites.The sites are near public transportation.

The City and the Duluth Economic Development Authority (DEDA) have identified several vacant, developable  lots throughout the city that will be available for the development of affordable housing. The purpose of this program is to build a collective knowledge of creative/innovative design and construction methodologies for infill housing in Duluth and identify how to simplify the development of affordable housing.

Free Land For The Most Innovative Ideas

If you can display an achievable idea that aligns with the goals of this program and you are selected for inclusion in the program, the lot will be available for free.

Priority consideration will be awarded to applicants who pursue development of narrow lots. Additionally, attention to detail and production of descriptive concepts that achieve the goals identified in this program will be considered more favorably.

Rebuild Duluth

There are challenges with the lots such as soil conditions and the width of the lots which are only 17′ to 25′  wide.

Rebuild Duluth Lots

Tiny Homes Could Be A Solution

Tiny homes could be a solution and the city is open to have that discussion. Duluth is becoming very tiny home friendly.

Note: I spoke to the city and they would possibly  be open to tiny homes on wheels, but there might be a requirement to remove the wheels. Please do your own personal research and due diligence.

A solution could be a transformable trailer foundation by Cubist Engineering.

Transformable Trailer Foundations

Transformable Trailer foundations are built of solid steel, the foundation is strong enough to support the heaviest structures in any conditions with no additional site prep necessary. The wheels and hitch mean simple delivery—they  can just tow the building right up to its final home. The building can be kept mobile or remove just a handful of bolts to drop the axle and hitch and set the building flat on any surface: concrete, gravel, dirt or grass.

Cubist can also  attach  leveling “lunar landing legs” to set it on on uneven ground.

The whole foundation is insulated and sealed underneath, as well as hot-dipped galvanized, a process that chemically binds the zinc finish to the metal so your foundation won’t rust or degrade for decades.

Cubist Engineering

Duluth Is In A Housing Crisis

Duluth is in an affordable housing crisis and they are desiring to increase density. The city is  willing to relax some requirements and regulations. The parcels, valued at approximately $5,000 to $15,000, are being provided by the The city and the Duluth Economic Development Authority (DEDA)

Requirements: Selected Winners Will Be Notified By Feb. 2020

Final approval and transfer of land to occur in the following months. They will have until Dec. 31, 2021, to complete construction

  • Innovative Idea
  • Floorplan
  • Budget
  • Timeline To Be Completed
  • Affordable Housing Solution
  • Sustainable
  • Must be hooked up to utilities
  • Submit Application By Jan. 2nd, 2019
  • They will have until Dec. 31, 2021 to complete construction or ownership of the land will revert back to DEDA.


An informational meeting is also planned for Dec. 2, with details to be announced.

Rebuild Duluth

Tiny Homes In Duluth

The City of Duluth Planning & Development is proposing zoning ordinance changes related to tiny homes, as well as the subjects of tree preservation, distillery/craft breweries, and temporary structures and shipping containers.

NEW (9/4/19)! A zoning code change is being proposed to address tiny homes.  The amended language will provide clarity related to Fixed In Place (FIP) tiny homes and Tiny Homes on Wheels (THOW).  The Planning Commission will review the language at the September 10, 2019, Planning Commission meeting.  Additional changes are being recommended for shipping containers/temporary structures, tree preservation, and craft distilleries.

We created a dedicated housing-developer position alongside the Housing and Redevelopment Authority, formed a housing team, and announced Rebuild Duluth, a program that will provide up to 19 infill lots across the city, free of charge, to add to our stock of affordable housing. To date, more than 30 parties are interested in the lots, and have extended our submission date to accommodate requests for additional time.

Article Source The Duluth News Tribune

Tiny Home Financing

Members Cooperative Credit Union serves members in Minnesota and is offering 30 year fixed mortgages for tiny homes. Homes must be owner occupied. They will also loan on a second, vacation home. MCCU is proud to be the largest Minnesota credit union based north of the Twin Cities. They  have many locations available to serve you. You will need to become a member to qualify for their loans.

Loan Specifics

  • 30 Year Fixed Rate
  • Minimum Amount: $20,000
  • Maximum Amount $ 150,000
  • No Larger Than 500 Square Feet
  • Site Built Or Modular
  • Construction Loan
  • Purchase Of Lot
  • Purchase Transaction
  • No Mortgage Insurance
  • Tiny Home Will Need To Be Fixed On A Foundation

Learn More: Tiny Home Industry Association