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story.lead_photo.caption The Benton County Courthouse. - Photo by Ben Goff

BENTONVILLE -- Benton County planners had their first look at a proposed "tiny home" Thursday and said the county would treat such a project like a mobile home park as the most comparable kind of development.

Taylor Reamer, planning division manager, said if the project marks the beginning of a trend in Benton County, the planning guidelines will likely be revised to have a separate section governing the tiny homes. A detailed site plan showing pads for the about 400-square-foot homes, ingress and egress to the development, interior roads and layout of any on-site utilities will be needed before the project can be reviewed by the Planning Board.

Tiny homes

Typically, tiny homes are between 100 and 400 square feet. While there isn’t a set standard, tiny homes rarely exceed 500 square feet. For reference, the median size of a new single-family home sold in 2015 was 2,520 square feet, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. You could fit about 144 tiny houses on a football field.


Phil Swope, with Swope Engineers in Rogers, briefed the Development Review Committee on the idea. Swope said Tomek Siwiec, with 1031 Exchange LLC, is looking to develop about 20 acres at 13675 Arkansas 102, which is adjacent to Centerton.

"We're real early in the process," Swope told the committee.

The biggest concern with the project is water and sewer service, Swope said. Frank Holzkamper with the Centerton Water Utilities attended the meeting and said city water is available nearby, but sewer service isn't.

Holzkamper said the city plans to expand into the area within the next five years, but anyone wanting city sewer service would have to have their property annexed into the city.

Glenn Tracy, county building official, said if the project is developed before annexation, it would be governed by the county. Centerton planning regulations would apply if the project waits until city sewer is available and is annexed into the city, he said.

Tracy said the size and nature of the tiny homes determines whether they are treated by the county as permanent structures or temporary, like mobile homes and recreational vehicles.

"If it's built on a foundation, the building codes apply," Tracy said. "If it's on a trailer and axle, then it's a 'move-on' structure and the only thing we inspect is how you hook up to utilities -- water, sewer and electricity."

Swope said the concept of the project is to have a number of the tiny homes, possibly near walking trails with some commercial development on site.

Swope said he will review possible septic system designs that could be used on the property before deciding how best to proceed.

Also Thursday, the committee discussed plans for a possible warehouse expansion at 11427 Arkansas 59 near Gravette.

Jackson Bird told the committee Merchant Brands Inc. has a 30,000-square-foot warehouse on the site and wants to add 30,000 square feet. Bird said the warehouse is used for dry storage of packaged goods.

NW News on 09/14/2018

Print Headline: County planners hear tiny homes concept

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